“In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
In our reading today from Micah 6 and in the quotation from Jesus in Matthew 7, we find helpful guidelines that summarize the teachings of God’s law. These help us to focus on the main things God calls us to live by.
Jesus’ statement in Matthew 7 is often called the “golden rule.” It reminds us to treat others as we would like to be treated. Here, as in many of his teachings, Jesus presents a principle of what should be rather than what is. In our world, doing to others as they have done to us (in terms of favors or payback) is far more common than treating others as we would like them to treat us.
The prophet Micah spoke to God’s people in a time when the wealthy and powerful were just going through the motions of religious duty while their hearts were far from the Lord. God’s desire was that they would love to extend mercy to people who were poor and weak, and to act justly toward their neighbors always. Instead, the wealthy and powerful were crushing the poor and weak.
These are good reminders. If we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that there can be times when we, too, neglect to show justice and mercy in our day-to-day living. How can we turn that around?
Lord and God, help me to show justice and mercy in the things I do today. Help me to build up people who need encouragement and to bless those who are downcast and disadvantaged. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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