“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.”
This is from the minor prophet Micah, in the Old Testament, in the middle of a chapter about the Lord’s case against Israel. It doesn’t mention Jesus, love or perfection, so you may ask what it has to do with the perfect love of Jesus? We’ll get to that.
But first I have to tell you about my daughter. She is my first child, and she is 2 months old. Right now, she doesn’t do much more than look adorable sleeping. She also looks adorable when she is awake. There are even times when she cries that I can’t help but smile. I think this is because when she’s crying, her concerns are so simple. She is either hungry, tired or uncomfortable (usually because of a full diaper), and it is my great joy to get to figure out with which of those things she’s struggling. She sleeps well, she is not colicky, and she has not had any health problems. I thank God for her every day.
I also have the great responsibility to teach her all about Jesus, and every night I pray that she would know Jesus and learn to hear His voice. However, I believe we learn more about God by watching what His followers do, rather than what they say, and I believe my daughter will learn more about God by watching me than by listening to what I teach her.
So if Jesus is the perfect picture of love and the perfect example of how we should love, then it is important to look at what He did while He was alive. First of all, He acted justly. He pursued those who had been marginalized and forgotten, and He loved them. Think of the lepers and the woman healed of blood: He gave them a place to be able to come before God and worship. Second, He loved mercy. He saw people like Zacchaeus and Mary Magdalene and forgave them for the wrongs they had committed. Despite their sin, He offered them restoration and relationship. Third, He took time to get away to pray. He showed us what a perfect relationship with the Father looks like.
Micah tells us and Jesus shows us what is good. This is how I long to show my daughter the perfect love of Jesus. I hope that she will see me act justly and love mercy. I hope she will see me walking humbly with God and, even though I know that I will stumble along the way, I pray that she would see me return to the God who loves me perfectly.
In this issue, you will find stories of Jesus’ love calling youth to ministry and the stagnant heart to hope again, and you will learn more fully the many forms that Jesus’ love took and how that love calls us to pursue our friends through pain and struggle.
Mark Crawford is the assistant editor of Light + Life. He resides in Tucson, Arizona.
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