Saturday, July 25, 2015

인자와 겸손

"사람아 주께서 선한 것이 무엇임을 네게 보이셨나니 여호와께서 네게 구하시는 것이 오직 공의를 행하며 인자를 사랑하며 겸손히 네 하나님과 함께 행하는 것이 아니냐?" - 미가 6:8

"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 with your God." - Micah 6:8

This particular Bible verse has been on my mind a lot recently. In context, the book of Micah is a collection of sayings by its eponymous prophet that detail God's judgment against Israel and other nations but also provide glimpses of hope for a better future. In this chapter, God is telling Israel, through his prophet, that what they need to do in order to get back into his good graces is not more burnt sacrifices or physical offerings, but three simple (yet also extraordinarily difficult) actions: act justly, love mercy, walk humbly.

공의를 행하며, 인자를 사랑하며, 겸손히 행하는 것이다.

I can understand where a lot of Christians are coming from when they point out sin and moral corruption in our society and generation. To stop wrongdoing from occurring by publicly calling it out looks like an act of justice. This is, after all, what prophets are best known for doing.

But that is only one-third of what the Lord requires of us, isn't it? All the protest and castigation directed toward sinners sounds less like justice and more like direct hatred when it is delivered with mercy or humility. I think this must be because it's so easy to nest in one's own moral high ground, and because it feels so good to be "in the right".

Indeed, mercy and humility are not easy virtues to carry. It's not comfortable to identify our own privilege and admit that we might have an unfair advantage over people we'd rather dismiss as lazy or sinful. It's difficult to look at something we believe is wrong and consider that we ourselves might be wrong. And it's nearly impossible to judge ourselves by the same standard by which we judge others.

As hard as it is to carry out these three simple tasks God requires, I don't think it is actually beyond any of us. A sermon preached at church a few weeks ago highlighted something that I've heard hundreds of times before but only recently began to see in a fresh and relevant light: "Change is brought about by everyday people."

평범한 사람이 변화를 가지고 오다.

This applies to the prophets of ancient Israel, and to most of the major "heroes" of the Bible. They were ordinary people. Sinful people. People who probably wouldn't have chosen the adventures they are now known for had they had the choice. Sometimes, prophets came from great lineage, and sometimes they were plucked out of an orchard randomly to deliver an important message.

If ordinary people could, in the Bible and in history, become vessels of such great importance, why not now? God doesn't require us to be financially successful, famous, or socially influential. Actually, all he requires is justice, mercy, and humility. 공의, 인자, 겸손.

Anyway, I didn't think I'd be gaining any major spiritual insights while spending a short summer in Korea, but as it turns out, I don't get to decide when God wants to tell me something, so I thought I'd share. Hopefully it can be a bit of encouragement to anybody who is fighting for social justice, anybody who finds themselves targeted by overwhelmingly "justice-happy" Christians, or anybody who considers themselves ordinary but still wants to let God do cool things in their lives.

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