At this point, having looked at all three things that God requires of us according to the prophet Micah, you might be thinking, "Wait a minute."
Wait a minute because this seems totally unfair. It seems like I'm responsible for absorbing all of the broken things in the world. It seems like I'm being asked to give up what I've got, what I've worked hard for, what I deserve, in order to make up for the empty spaces of a fallen and sinful creation.
Look, I'd love to tell you that it's enough for us to just do these things for ourselves. I'd like to say that it's doing enough justice if we just don't do anything unjust, if we just treat everyone fairly and don't add to the imbalance in the world. I'd like to say that it's okay to love mercy for yourself and just let it be wherever else it happens to be, that we don't have to celebrate it where we find it. I'd like to say that it's good enough to just be walking with God, that we don't have to be so humble that we give up all our status just to be His. I'd like to say these things, but I can't. They're just not true.
Good ideas like this only work if everyone is doing them. If everyone was doing justice in their own lives, then we wouldn't have to make up for the places where injustice still dwells. If everyone was loving mercy and celebrating second chances, then we wouldn't have to be the ones making them happen all the time. If everyone was walking humbly with God, unconcerned with status, then we wouldn't have to step down; we could just step forward. But we have to be honest about this - when was the last time everyone did anything?
But here's the thing: we can do it because it's not something we have to worry about. We don't have to worry about injustice because we know what happens next. We've seen injustice played out on the biggest stage the world has ever seen, and you know what? Darkness fell, the earth shook, the curtain tore, the dead breathed, and the tomb was empty. I don't mind taking injustice upon myself, absorbing the blows of unjust world to do a good thing in it, because I know what happens to injustice. I don't have to worry about it.
We don't have to worry about revenge because restitution has already been made. We don't have to feel slighted by setting someone free from their past mistakes because we've been set free. We don't have to agonize over whether to give someone a second chance because...what chance are we on again? It's too easy to say they don't deserve it; we don't deserve it. But we know what redemption is. I don't mind loving mercy and extending it to everyone, no matter what they've done, because I've seen redemption work. And I know what happens when it doesn't. I don't have to worry about it.
We don't have to worry about giving up status in this world and humbling ourselves because we know who we really are. God has taken every opportunity to tell us. Again and again in the Scriptures, He reminds us that we are His people and He is our God. But then, we get to the end of the Bible and He says it just a little different - we are His children, and He is our God. I don't mind stepping down and putting myself in my proper place, admitting to and owning all that I am and am not, freely abandoning whatever status this world wants to bestow on me because I know exactly who I am. I don't have to worry about it.
Maybe it does seem unfair that in doing what God requires, we seem to absorb more than our fair share of this world's brokenness. Maybe it does seem that if we really do what God desires, we have to give up a lot of things we're sure we deserve. But it just doesn't seem that way to me.
Because I know what happens next, and I don't have to worry about it.