Micah 6:6–8 ‘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.’(v8)

There is a prayer I say on waking, even before I get out of bed. One line runs, ‘a spirit of chastity, humble mindedness, patience and love bestow upon me Your servant’.* Chastity may seem an odd word, but it is used in the traditional Christian sense of honesty, truthfulness, purity of heart, good intent; in fact, all the Christian virtues as described in Scripture. A challenge we are all invited to accept.

For me, ‘patience and love’ demand a life of kindness. It’s rejecting the criticism and judgment that can frame the snapshot I take of people and situations. Kindness resists such judgment and insists on believing the best of another, and can help us avoid causing pain and resentment in another. Instead, we seek to be helpful, generous and caring to all. Since we share God’s image with everyone, I’m invited to express the same hospitality Jesus showed during His earthly ministry. 

Here, Micah suggests three simple measures for kindness. First, to promote justice; we are always to be fair and to speak truthfully, neither seeking to promote ourselves or talk down others. Second, mercy guides us towards forgiveness. As forgiven ourselves by God, we are both to forgive others but also notably ourselves. We do not need to live under the shadow of guilt and shame. Finally, humility means we recognise that we live to serve, and are not entitled to anything by right. All we enjoy is a gift from God; in turn, I seek to become God’s gift to others.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Prov. 16:18–33; Eccl. 7:8–29; Rom. 15:1–6; 1 Tim. 1:12–17.

AN ACTION TO TAKE: Consider ways that you might daily express patience and love to others. How and where will you begin?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, may I never grow tired of living a life of patience and love. Amen.’

Photo by Biswarup Ganguly From Wikimedia Commons

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.