Steps to Goodness

Micah 6:8 (NIV)

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.

We live in a world where it’s a popular belief to depend on one’s understanding. I hear people say that each person’s own truth is the perfect truth and path for each individual.

This ideology makes my skin crawl!

I work with 12 and 13 year olds. I’ve heard and seen things that will make the common man gasp and feel uncomfortable. If what little tweens think and say is considered to be okay, then there is something seriously flawed with that ideology.

We are so afraid to be politically incorrect and “offend” someone, that we simply smile as say that each person is entitled to their own opinion. But I think most people can agree that our country has lost a lot of what has made it special and influential by dropping its standards.

Now, I understand that we live in a wonderful country with many freedoms–the freedom of religion for example. You can choose to believe in one deity, hundreds of them, or none at all. That’s fine. I’m not disputing that at all.

But I do want to point out a theory on goodness that has stood for thousands of years. God, the creator of the world, wants us “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” This is the formula for understanding what is good.

Step 1: Act justly.

This doesn’t mean that you need to go around and judge everyone around you and condemn their souls to eternal damnation if they don’t repent. It means to be fair in your dealings with men and women, not trying to cheat or abuse them for your own personal gain.

Step 2: Love mercy.

Mercy is compassion or forgiveness. When you have the opportunity to punish or harm someone for their misdeeds, choose instead to have gentle heart and forgive them. This doesn’t mean to let someone walk all over you and let them hurt you over and over again. Loving mercy is more like understanding that none of us are perfect and we make mistakes sometimes. There is a merciful God that loves you no matter what you’ve done and wants to give you another chance. Extend that to your fellow man as well.

Step 3: Walk humbly.

Us humans are selfish by nature. We wish to take care of ourselves to preserve our own lives. But God tells us to push those egocentric feelings aside and care for other people. Think about a time in your life when you needed help. Did someone give up some of their time and/or resources to aid you in your time of need? Didn’t you feel grateful and blessed at their assistance? If more of us did what we could for the less fortunate, this world would be a much brighter place to live.