The LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind” (Henry James).
Since the days of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) communication has been a problem between peoples. In our day of polarized and antithetical political views, it is perhaps worse than ever. Is there a universal language that we could all speak that would allow us to communicate and understand one another?
The simple answer – yes! Kindness!
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see (Mark Twain).
Kindness is a state of being that includes loving affection, sympathy, friendliness, patience, pleasantness, gentleness, and goodness.
Some folks seem to be gifted with a tender heart and a kind spirit. You can spot them anywhere. People in need of loving care, sympathy, mercy, gentleness, and understanding are attracted to them. Simply follow the crowd.
But for the rest of us, it is not so simple. We get hurt and offended, we bear grudges, we close off ourselves to human relationships and dry up inside and become hard.
Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured (Mark Twain). “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle” (Plato).
Of all the possible things that we could possibly do to please the Father, what matters most? The Father has made Himself clear on this matter. Kindness is at the core of what we ought to be and do. It is not a suggestion; it is a requirement. Simply stated if we are not choosing to be kind, we are in violation of one of His prime directives.
6 What can we bring to the LORD? What kind of offerings should we give him? Should we bow before God with offerings of yearling calves?
7 Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins?
8 No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 answers the unequivocally the question. It rules out the possibilities of the previous two verses. Micah, the prophet himself speaks for the Father. The Father tells us what He requires: to do what is just, to show kindness, and to live in humble fellowship with our God.
Without a right relationship with the Father, this is impossible, and all outward pretense and ceremony is useless and vain (UBS).
To do what is just involves right and fair relationships.
The Hebrew term translated kindness is hesed. It is often translated kindness, lovingkindness, reliability, faithfulness, mercy, and loyal love. The third phrase is literally “to walk humbly with your God.” It is not insisting on our own way but readily doing what the Father desires of us.
Hesed one of the most beautiful and fascinating words used in the Old Testament to describe the Father. It is profound and multifaceted. The Father has many wonderful characteristics, personality traits, and attributes. Perhaps one of the most delightful of all is His lovingkindness.
The Father requires us to be just like Him in the way we deal with others.
REFLECT & PRAY
I have made so many bad choices. Is there one that stands out that I wish I would have done differently? The answer is an obvious yes. I would have chosen to be kind and tenderhearted.
Father, it grieves me deeply to have been so hardhearted and resistant to simple acts of kindness and forgiveness. Let me be tender and gentle and accepting of others as You are of me. Let me start a new day and walk in a new way.
The Father’s tenderhearted lovingkindness is seen in the story of the prodigal (Luke 15:11-32). The Father does not reject, He longs for reconciliation and restoration.
20 But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
24 [And his father said,] this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found
The Father’s remarkable lovingkindness is revealed in His acts of tenderness and gentleness with those that have deeply sinned and are embarrassed and ashamed. He does not condemn, He forgives (John 8).
10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
The Father has drawn us to Himself because of and through His lovingkindness.
Peter tells us how to get this done.
1 Peter 3:8-12
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted and keep a humble attitude.
9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.
10 For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.
11 Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”