One of my favorite verses is from Micah 6:8
"He has shown you, O mortal, 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."
-New International Version (NIV)
I had to search different versions to find the one that uses the word mercy instead of kindness. Obviously either word will do but for today mercy is what I'm writing about.
I first remember hearing this verse when we lived in New Jersey. Pastor Greg preached on the verse. Then, I heard it again here in Grand Rapids when Pastor Jennie preached on it.
Pair this with what Jesus said is the greatest commandment and I bet things would be different. People would be different.
This goes right along with the book study I've been participating in, "Whose Gospel?" by Dr. James Forbes. I wrote about his visit and his visionary, or progressive, teachings.
This last Sunday we were challenged by Pastor Bob to reach outside our comfort zone. When we are comfortable we are not changing. When we're not changing things aren't getting worse, but neither are they getting better.
It's uncomfortable to ask someone what's their name. It's uncomfortable to offer someone your umbrella when it's pouring down rain. It's uncomfortable to invite someone to church. It's uncomfortable to sit next to someone you don't know.
And we've gotten use to being comfortable.
We show kindness, or mercy, to those around us when we treat them as we would want to be treated. Do you want to be ignored? No, I hope not. Don't you want to know that person's story? Even if they talk your ear off, maybe they just needed someone to listen. Or maybe they talk everyone's ear off; show them mercy and listen.
We are too ego-centric. We are too self-centered. We care about ourselves and our comfort too much.
This verse reminds me right at the beginning my flaw. "O mortal", it says. Oh, right, I'm reminded of my limited time on earth. I start to ask; what matters here, the sweater I'm wearing? How many pairs of pants I have hanging in my closet?
Or does the "pay-it-forward" mentality mean more? Sharing with someone in need, not want. Cooking a meal out of love? The immortal and intangible things we share matter more then the materialistic and consumeristic things that just take up space.
We are call to show mercy to others and show mercy to our planet.