«He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?» (Micah 6:8)
I had not seen her in 40 years, since eighth grade. During the class reunion I took her aside. «In grade school,» I told her when we were alone, «we were not very kind to you. I need to ask your forgiveness for the part I played in treating you so unfairly.» «I have always wondered what I did wrong,» she said. «It has affected me emotionally since then.» «I’m sorry,» I repeated. «I can’t erase what was done, but you have been on my mind for many years. I have needed to ask your forgiveness.»
Thoughtless words spoken by children had affected her sense of self over the years. I will never forget the look in her eyes as we talked. I don’t believe that I actively treated her unfairly, but I did nothing to stop the unfriendly treatment. I find myself thinking of her when I witness injustices today. If I stand by and do nothing to stop the wrong, I am a participant.
The prophet Micah told us to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. In fact, if I do not act justly and love mercy, how can I even bear to be in God’s presence?
O God, move us to act and speak for justice and compassion. In Jesus’ name. Amen.