What does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
Wherever you find love and justice, God is present and at work. Wherever the two are weak or absent, that is a call to join the Lord who is already there working to restore them and to overcome evil and sin. What do these terms “evil,” “sin,” “love,” and “justice” mean?
Here are some fresh definitions – biblically based, just restated:
• Evil is whatever blocks love and justice. Evil separates people from God and from one other.
• Sin can be understood as evil chosen consciously.
• Love occurs when, without limit, we seek to value others as they really are and to care for them, to forgive their faults, and to help them put their skills and talents to their best possible use.
• Justice is the “public” face of love. In public life, we love by seeking for everyone equal access to the good things in life – whatever helps people to become all that they are created to be and to put their skills and talents to their best possible use.
Jesus sums all this up in Matthew 22:39, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Behind these words lie the very same words in Leviticus 19:18, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself;” and the question of Micah 6:8, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Jesus, himself, is the supreme example of love and justice. To follow Jesus means to be loving in our personal relationships and to be just in our public life – to work for everyone to have equal access to the same rights and opportunities. To follow Jesus means to work for the well-being of the whole of God’s creation. Love and justice open the door for a useful way to discuss two words central to mission – gospel and salvation.