Three Empowering Virtues – Part Three

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6: 8

Three virtues are noted in the text. First, is “to do justly.” The second is “to love mercy.” The second is worth further attention.

On the beautiful Hawaiian Island of Molokai was a colony to which persons inflicted with the dreaded disease of leprosy were sent to live out their lives in misery.

A simple noble priest, Father Damien, went there to minister to them. He did so for months addressing them as: “You lepers.” He met with no response.

One day he spoke to them as, “My fellow lepers.”

He had so identified with them as to have contracted leprosy. Thereafter, his ministry met with a positive response. His mercy was their hearts. It so won the admiration of our nation that a statue of Father Damien stands as the only religious figure under the rotunda of our nation’s capital.

These persons stand in admirable contrast to the character depicted by George Bernard Shaw as: “a selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making him or her happy.”

With justice and mercy so closely linked in the text some persons often confuse the two. There are times when justice and mercy can be compatible.

When Fiorello La Guaridia was mayor of New York City he liked to keep in touch with all departments of government. He would even substitute for various heads. Once he sat in for the Night Court judge. It was a cold night and a trembling man was brought in charged with stealing a loaf of bread. He said he did it because his family was starving.

“I have to punish you nevertheless,” said La Guardia. “There is no exception to the law. The fine is $10.00.” As he said this he reached for his wallet, took out $10.00, put it in his famous hat and said, “Here is the $10.00 to pay the fine.”

“Furthermore,” he continued, “I’m going to fine everybody in this courtroom 50 cents for living in a city where a man has to steal bread in order to eat. Mr. Bailiff, collect the fines and give them to the defendant.”  The total was $47.50.

In effect that is what our Heavenly Father did for us. We sin and He has found us guilty. In the person of His only begotten Son He paid the fine and remitted our sin when we trust Him as savior . 

Because of that we are to live out Micah’s third virtue.