More Reflections on Living a Simplified Life

A few days ago, I shared three guaranteed steps that will help you live a simplified life: Pursue Justice, Love Mercy and Walk Humbly with your God (Micah 6.8). What do these things look like?

Pursue Justice: For me, seeking justice means overturning systems of injustice. It means putting an end to the oppression and exploitation of the marginalized in our society and in our world. This oppression manifests itself in different ways but includes human trafficking, poverty, hunger, genocide, infanticide, rape, lack of food access, high rates of unemployment relegated to a given community, and subprime lending – just to name a few.

Although marginalized communities look a little different around the world, they most often represent persons of color (or ethnicities other than European), women and children. These groups suffer from exploitative systems at rates over and above those who are not in this group. Pursuing justice for these persons and these groups in the way that God requires involves challenging the systems, institutions and governments that allow them to persist. It will be uncomfortable and will demand a huge sacrifice on the part of those who are doing the challenging – but the world is longing for a people of God to step up and do the messy work.

Love Mercy: As humans, we are so prone to give to others what we think they deserve. We want to make sure that criminals are put away, disobedient children are chastised, cheaters punished, and those who scam the system through fraud and tax evasion made an example of, lest they repeat their offences again. And I think that there is an element of truth to these actions, but sometimes I wonder where is the place for mercy? Where is the opportunity to treat people not the way their actions deserve, but the way that Jesus did. With the woman caught in adultery, mercy (John 8), with the sinners and tax collectors, mercy (Luke 15.1, 2), with the Samaritan woman at the well with WAY too many husbands, mercy, with the thief who hung next to him on the cross, mercy (Luke 23. 39- 43), with all of humanity, mercy (Romans 5.8)

If Jesus could demonstrate such great acts of mercy to us, when we wanted nothing to do with him, and took  all of our sins upon himself, how much more us? We have received so much, let us give of the mercy we have received – in spite of whether we think those we are giving it to deserve it.

Walk Humbly with Your God: Walking in humility is not easy. So often we pride ourselves in our accomplishments and our abilities, and putting those things aside for the sake of knowing God is not very appealing. Yet, the apostle Paul, someone who I feel had a right to brag of his credentials, found a way to put all of those things away and instead choose to identify with the resurrection and suffering of our Lord. Compared to Christ, Paul considered his accomplishments rubbish, dung in fact, so that he could be found as one who walked with God. If Paul, someone who upheld the Jewish law, was righteous by the standards of his day, and highly educated, understood that what he possessed was nothing, we would be wise to see our lives and our successes in the same vein.

For me, this is what Micah 6.8 looks like and is thereby what God requires of us. Although these things are not easy to do, I believe that if we can grasp hold of them we will find our lives not only more simplified, but more fulfilling. I believe that any purpose or calling of God on our lives flows from these three things here, in that no matter what we are doing or profession we are in, God asks justice, mercy and humility from us. I would strongly recommend us to re-evaluate our lives if we find ourselves in professions, lifestyles or situations that do not model these things.

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