Living God’s way in our chaotic world sometimes seems like an impossible dream. Yet Micah the prophet summarized God’s intents this way: “He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord really wants from you: He wants you to promote justice, to be faithful, and to live obediently before your God.” Micah 6:8 NET. Or, from the NIV, “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Our country is embroiled today in divisive debates about what it “looks like” to act justly, love mercy and walk in humility. From diverse reactions to the verdict in the Zimmerman case to ongoing debates about IRS scandals and emotional discussions regarding our broken immigration system it is more important than ever that we diligently pray for ourselves and for our leaders as we navigate the choppy waters of a divided nation in a way that reveals our God.
Jesus prayed the evening before His death that we would be united in love.
Psalm 133 describes in metaphor the benefits of living peaceably together:
Look! How good and how pleasant it is
when brothers live together!
It is like fine oil poured on the head
which flows down the beard –
and then flows down his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which flows down upon the hills of Zion.
Indeed that is where the Lord has decreed
a blessing will be available – eternal life.
How can you and I be instruments of this kind of peace? Perhaps the last phrase, “walk humbly with your God” provides guidance.
Each of us “sees through a glass darkly.” We each assess issues through a filter comprised of our backgrounds, experiences, culture and other influences. Others with different filters evaluate the same events in a different light and come to different conclusions.
Wouldn’t walking humbly include acknowledging our own filters and respecting the differing filters of others without searing judgment and scorn? Wouldn’t walking humbly and obediently lead me to speak softly and without rancor with those who see the world differently? Wouldn’t humility call me to pray fervently for wisdom for others and myself? Might humility challenge me to consider the possibility that you may be right and I may be wrong? Might humility keep my heart soft toward those who see the world differently? How might our debates be different if our attitudes reflected this humility?
Paul expresses it well in Ephesians 4:1-3, “live worthily of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Unity doesn't mean uniformity, but it leads to peace. Bearing with one another may mean respecting your filter as well as mine, even when I don't understand it.
As we walk together in the Spirit, unity doesn’t have to be an “impossible dream.”