Compassion and justice blended
call us to simplicity of life.
In western society, it’s common to have a habit of making life so complex. We tend to fill our schedules, clutter our homes, and the amount of technology in our lives tends to crowd our minds as well. It’s easy to feel stressed out and unable to find quiet. Not only that, but I (with so many others) long to have meaningful lives, not the status quo of an anxious society. We long for something that will reflect our hope in Christ, and make us feel connected to God’s mission of redemption and hope. Lately, I’ve been meditating on Micah 6:8,
He has showed you, O man, what is good: and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy/kindness,and to walk humbly with our God?
A word that shows up in the Old Testament quite a bit, and is often translated “mercy,” is the word “Chesed.” Chesed is defined as covenantal love, or love that doesn’t quit. That is why it is also as translated sometimes as steadfast love or lovingkindness. I like how Richard Foster puts it in his book Freedom of Simplicity, he calls it: durable love. Here in Micah 6:8, as in many occasions throughout the Old Testament, this chesed/durable love is the word that we see translated “mercy.” This call to Israel in Micah’s time, as well as (I believe) to us in our time, is to live a focused life of justice, durable love, and a humble walk with the Lord. What would it look like to live an integrated life – not just in immediate places of caring relationships, but also in our apartment complexes, coffee shops, and grocery stores? Developing transparency and vulnerability into our relationships, and living out of a central conviction that we are beloved by God means a vibrant sincerity in our relationships, whether that means: laughing or crying. It enjoys people, and it means we spend less time taking ourselves seriously, so that we can take compassion very seriously. This durable love is something that, if we let it define our motivations, will shape our decisions in our everyday lives.
It’s not glamorous. It is often understated, and steady: it shows up. It forgives. It is humble and meek. It’s a pursuit toward maturity, and often that means brokenness: falling down and picking yourself up again (or rather, letting the arms of Christ pick us back up again). But it is always on the journey to finding and living out of your true self and becoming more alive in love. Durable love.