He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
I might have said “to show mercy,” but in doing so, I would have lost the depth of it. I may try very hard to show mercy, but it will soon be exhausted. True mercy flows from a heart of mercy, not just from a resolve to be merciful. To love mercy, I must experience it first.
When I know my own sin (and by this I mean that I am confronted by the real evil in me, and face the pain it inflicts on those I love) and then I know the tender affection of God in spite of it, then his mercy becomes to me a most precious treasure. I admire it. I desire it, for myself, and for every other evil man.
God does not ask of us any more than he is himself. He asks us to love mercy the way he does. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked; rather, he delights to show mercy. What could warm his heart like seeing his little children take after him?
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. (Luke 6:35)
In the admiration of our Father is the way to become like him. Contemplate his mercy to you. Embrace it as your only hope. Ask him to make it more and more tangible, to pierce your heart with his kindness. Surrender to his mercy. Abandon the struggle to justify yourself, and allow yourself to be known as the one Jesus loved.
Then take notice when he shows kindness to someone else. When an evil man finds the favor of God that he does not deserve, run in to the party and celebrate with him. And for those who have not yet tasted mercy, make your prayer that of Jesus: “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.”
Note: The word require in Micah 6:8 is the Hebrew darash. In the King James bible, this word is usually translated inquire or seek, except when God is doing it. Then it becomes require or demand. Can we not believe that God is seeking that we love mercy, without demanding it?