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Measuring Sticks | Theology of the Family Theology of the Family

Measuring Sticks

Life gets hectic and overwhelming at times. Sometimes we get caught up in the many things that we are involved in and we begin to lose perspective. We can’t see the forest for the trees.  It is important to have some sort of gauge or measuring stick by which we can measure where we are and how we are doing.  Scripture gives us a very basic way of evaluating our spiritual life.  It comes in Micah 6:8.  The prophet here is showing us both what is good and what God requires of us.  Micah says that the Lord “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?” (KJV)

Note that the first ‘measuring stick’ is to do justly. We often put the emphasis on mercy- and rightly so.  Yet mercy and justice are not opposites. Rather, mercy and justice are interrelated.  We need to give to everyone what is truly theirs. We need to honour our parents (Ex 20: 12; Eph 6:1); we should sacrifice ourselves for our children and provide them with loving disciple (Heb 12:7-8; Eph 6:4); husbands need to love their wives and wives need to respect their husbands (Eph 5:33).  All this is simply being “just”- i.e., giving to the other what is appropriate and what is due them. In this way, mercy and justice are two sides of the same coin. This is emphasized by the next ‘measuring stick’ that is given: we are to love mercy. The word here in Hebrew is chesed.  It has to do with loving-kindness, mercy and faithfulness. God loves His people with chesed.  He is kind and merciful to us and we need to be kind and merciful to each other.  Both are always necessary: justice and mercy. They inform each other.

The third ‘measuring stick’ is to walk humbly with God.  Good advice for all of us. This is a simple reminder to always remember that God is God and we are His creatures.  We owe everything to Him.  It is so easy, especially when things are going well, to think that we are in control or that we are spiritually superior to others.  All of this is wrong.  Our focus must only be on God and our only response must be to worship Him.  Humility is simply knowing that God is our Creator, that He is our Father, and that we are His children. Our dependence on Him is simply the truth of who we are. Humility is always living in this truth and having a child-like attitude of trust towards the Father.

We need to be just, we need to have mercy and we need to be humble.  Great measuring sticks which will accurately show us where we are spiritually.

Photo Credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/87054972@N00/343549837/”>trekkyandy</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>

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