The Requirement of Justice

BackyardAll day long, I’m asking the girls to do things – to get dressed, to sit at the table, to help clean the playroom. I ask them to help each other and to help me. But we don’t really have any chore requirements. We haven’t done any charts or allowances; when we ask for help, we do it because we work together as a family. Maybe that will change as they grow older, but for now, the currency that is most valued is time together.

A requirement we do have is respect and compassion. We require the girls to show respect for each other and for us. We require that they respect our home and our belongings. I know that it could sound like a semantical difference, between asking and requiring and I suppose, ultimately it is.

But for our family’s culture, they do mean different things. When I ask for something, I want the response to be from a place of internal reward and expectation. I want the girls to respond to my request because they want to, not because they have to.

What I find so interesting in Micah 6:8 is that the word requires is used. I looked at a few different translations from the King James to the New Revised Standard to the Amplified version and nearly all used the word require.

In this context, Micah is reminding the people what God has done for them. God has brought them from Egypt and redeemed them from slavery. And what is the repayment? Should the Israelites burn offerings or give their firstborns? No. All God requires is for the people to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God.

I find it so fascinating that God doesn’t suggest that social justice be a cool thing to get into because it’s trendy. Or that being kind to others isn’t something to do because we should just give peace a chance. No, these are requirements instead of sacrifice. This is how we are able to walk humbly alongside our God, recognizing the path of redemption in this world.

I’m learning that to be involved in pursing peace and justice isn’t just something I should do because I find it interesting. I do it because I believe God requires this. It is how I better understand God and creation and restoration.

It reminds me that when Jesus talked about the most important commandments, he said to love God and to love our neighbors (Matthew 22:36-40), which is what God has required of us all along.

What passage in the Bible most calls you to do justice? How do you interpret the words of Micah?

BackyardThis post is Day 2 of the Write 31 Days Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the Backyard Justice. You can find the entire series over at my Backyard Justice page.

9 thoughts on “The Requirement of Justice

  1. I love this, Annie! Isaiah 58:6-11 has been particularly transformational for me when I think about what the Lord requires of me in terms of justice. Thanks for this reminder today!

    1. Oooh. Yes!! All of those verses, but this especially spoke to me today:
      “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
      and bring the homeless poor into your house;
      when you see the naked, to cover them,
      and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
      8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
      and your healing shall spring up quickly..”

  2. Excellent post and a thoughtful question. I believe the answer is Love which may sound simple but I’m discovering it’s a daily choice and practice of faith.

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