Bolivar Island lighthouse from the Galveston Ferry, Galveston, TX

Do justly

I’ve only seen a message in the clouds once. I can’t remember what the airplane was writing with the smoke against the blue sky, but I remember seeing it and wondering why God couldn’t make His instructions so clear.

Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever wish that God would just tell you what He wanted you to do? Someone I work with has this habit of leading a conversation toward what he wants to communicate, but he won’t tell us what he’s thinking because he wants us to guess. And it irritates the fire out of me because I won’t have an option anyway; whatever he wants us to do, we have to do. So why make us guess?

I feel that way with God sometimes. And then I read a verse like today’s verse and I kick myself because I remember that God is always clear and concise and it’s me who gets things muddled up.

Bolivar Island lighthouse from the Galveston Ferry, Galveston, TX

Bolivar Island lighthouse from the Galveston Ferry, Galveston, TX

Today’s verse is Micah 6:8.

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.

It honestly doesn’t get much clearer than that, does it? Do what’s right. Love mercy. Walk humbly. But hang on a second. Think about those three things.

Do what’s right. Love mercy. Walk humbly.

What do they actually mean? What is God actually telling us to do? How is He telling us to live?

I’ve never done this before on this blog, but I’m going to do it now. I’m going to take three days and focus on the same verse because those three things are important. This month I’m trying to get my perspective in order and focus on things that matter, and from the language in this verse, these three things matter. So I want to make sure I understand where God is coming from.

So…the first one…do what is right. Sounds easy enough.

Those of you who read my ramblings regularly (say that three times fast) know that I’m not a Bible scholar, so I often check other translations. This is the same verse in the Amplified Version:

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?

Do justly. Do what is right. Seems straightforward except for one little question that plagues 21st Century postmodern cultures: What is right?

This whole topic of there being no absolute right or wrong has been really damaging to people, I think. I’m not an expert on the subject, but even I can see the holes in it. Because if right and wrong depend on the individual, there will never be any order. Societies that adopted that kind of culture didn’t last very long. Unfortunately, that’s where America is heading.

But that still doesn’t answer the question. What is right? If there is an absolute right and an absolute wrong, what is it? Where do you find it?

Well, check out the beginning of today’s verse: “The Lord has told you what is good.”

Do you think we have the Bible just so it can gather dust on the coffee table? I’m pretty sure that’s not how it was intended to be used.

Some people get upset about the Bible, calling it a book of dos and don’ts, but let’s be honest here. That’s kind of what it is. Yes, it’s much more than that, but the Bible is an instruction manual. It’s like a roadmap. The Bible is full of stories and examples of how to live and choices and consequences and what’s real and what’s not, but if it sits unopened and unread on our shelves, how will we know what God is trying to tell us?

The Lord has told us what is good. He’s told us what’s right. And He expects us to do it. Can you call yourself a Christ-follower and do what’s wrong? Sure. But why would you?

So what is right?

Love God. Love people. Remember that from yesterday? Yeah, pretty much the basic answer for nearly anything.

Is it easy? Absolutely not. Doing what is right is sometimes the hardest thing you’ll ever do. It’s so much easier to do what’s wrong. It’s so much easier to give in to rumors and gossip. It’s so much easier to lie. It’s so much easier to steal. It’s so much easier to think only of yourself. And you can absolutely do all of that, and God won’t love you any less or any more than He already does.

But each of those choices has a consequence you’ll have to face at some point. If you gossip, eventually you’ll have to face the person you’re talking about. If you lie, eventually you’ll have to face the truth. If you steal, eventually you’ll have to face repayment. And if you only think of yourself, eventually you’ll have to face yourself and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.

Read the Bible and learn what is right, and then focus on doing it every day. Eventually doing what’s right will become a habit, and it’s a good habit to have because just as poor choices have bad consequences, good choices eventually have great rewards.

Do what’s right. That matters to God, so it should matter to us.