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by Sandy Fields

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He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8 NASB)

Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice, And wait for your God continually. (Hosea 12:6)

Thus has the LORD of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother...” (Zechariah 7:9)

    Micah 6:8 is one of my favorite verses.. the kind you have underlined... a verse that makes a beautiful song. These verses are taken from the New American Standard version. The different ones I looked at either used the word kindness or mercy. Interesting to think that these two words are interchangeable. I’m thinking God’s telling us that kindness isn’t all that special if it’s directed only to the people we love and who love us. Jesus makes that thought more than a hunch! He says it’s God’s truth!

You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 6:43-48)

    Using the word “mercy” in the place of “kindness” helps me to put kindness on a higher level. Mercy is shown when it appears that someone may not deserve our kindness. They may not have done anything to “earn” our kindness. Maybe they’re a stranger... or maybe they’re even an enemy! We deal with people every day — friends, acquaintances, co-workers, motorists, customers, students, family. To all of them I’m supposed to show kindness and mercy. This is what the Lord requires of me. This is His call on my heart and my behaviors.

This is what the Lord requires of me.
    I have spent much time in my life wondering what kind of person I would have been had I lived when Jesus lived. Gary and I were in a Passion Play one year. We had to be part of the mob scene in the end, screaming, “Crucify Him!” It makes me cry to even think about having to yell those words. All the actors were always very distraught after that scene. I know for myself, I was always so upset just wondering if I could have been caught up in that if I had lived 2000 years ago. I like rules and order, so I have also sometimes worried that I might have been like a Pharisee. While I was looking for verses on kindness, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when these words of our Savior showed up....

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel! (Matthew 23:23-24)

    From the very mouth of Jesus... the weightier matters of the law are justice, mercy (kindness) and faith. Let’s not lose them in our desire for orderly religion and good moral conduct. God is fashioning us by His Spirit to be woman of mercy and kindness. In a sometimes dangerous and often disorderly world, such a quality is much needed and seldom found. May the Spirit continually produce kindness, gentleness, and mercy in our hearts as we are fashioned into women of God.

 
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      © 2002, Sandy Fields. Used by permission.

      Title: ""
      Author: Sandy Fields
      Publication Date: September 29, 2002


 
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