“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly[a] with your God.”—Micah 6:8, NIV
“Do to others as you would have them do to you” comes from Luke 6:31. In verses 27–36, Jesus is speaking about how we should treat our enemies. He says that we should bless them, love them, and give them the very clothing off our backs, among other things. Even when people mistreat us, Jesus says that we should treat them right. It’s easy to be kind to those who deserve it. The challenge comes when we must be kind to those who don’t. As I awaited the verdict of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, I wondered how I would react if the decision wasn’t one with which I agreed.
Would I be kind to Derek Chauvin if he was acquitted and somehow our paths crossed? I want to think that I would dig deep into my faith to treat him kindly if he was not held accountable, but maybe I’m giving myself too much credit. After all, I’m still bothered by George Zimmerman’s acquittal and his lack of contrition ever since. The nerve of that man to sue Trayvon’s parents after causing them so much pain irks me. Yeah, I think I would struggle a bit with kindness.
I couldn’t watch any footage of Chauvin’s trial. This season is already an emotional one for me due to my own journey of grief. I didn’t want to induce an emotional roller coaster by watching the ping pong match between the defense and the prosecutor. I knew the defense would make claims that would incite me. So, I didn’t watch, but every day, I checked the internet for the latest update. When I saw the announcement that the jury had reached a verdict, I was nervous.
In Micah 6:8, we learn from the prophet that the Lord requires us to “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly.” One definition of justice by dictionary.com is “the administering of deserved punishment or reward.” I wondered what the jurors would consider just. Would they be fair, or would there be differential justice? I was literally sick to my stomach as I waited to hear the verdict.
As the judge began reading, I held my breath. Guilty. I cried. I screamed. I was relieved.
The verdict doesn’t stop the pain of George Floyd’s loved ones or those who mourn with them, nor does it erase the many other injustices that have taken place before or after George Floyd’s death. I’m optimistic that the verdict will bring hope for others who are dealing with injustices.
Meanwhile, those of us who follow Christ have Biblical charges, whether or not we like them. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say that treating enemies kindly isn’t something that I can do on my own. Wanting justice is the easy part. Loving mercy for myself is easy as well, but not so much when it comes to others when I feel they have “gotten away” with something, especially something that has caused someone a lot of pain. How prideful of me, right? Guess I need help with walking humbly as well. I’m sure I’m not the only one. As we go through this journey of life together, let’s encourage and pray for one another. I need you. You need me. Together and separately, we need Christ!
Father, we are living in a hurting world. Evidence of brokenness is all around us. Sometimes it seems like evil is winning. The emotional fabric of our society is fragile. Although what we see can be discouraging, help us not give up hope and trust that You are and will always be in full control. May You grant wisdom, give peace, and bring healing as only you can!