Micah 6:8 is a clear, crisp, and simple summary of what God expects from you and me. These three things that matter so much to God are the three things God wants to see in us: justice, kindness, and humility.
To act justly is to treat people fairly and respectfully. You do not oppress or mistreat others. You do not abuse your power by taking the good things God has given to other people, such as life, freedom, and property. There is a quote at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., that reads, “Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.” That’s justice.
What about kindness? To show kindness is to help the poor, the downtrodden, and the hurting. Kindness is like the Good Samaritan rescuing the wounded traveler. Jack Jezreel, the founder of Just Faith Ministries, illustrates the difference between kindness and justice:
Suppose one morning I wake up, look out my window, and in the stream that runs behind my house, I see a man who is unconscious, wet, and bleeding? Of course, I’d rush to his aid and give him medical attention and get him to the hospital. What if the next day I find another man in the stream in the same condition? Well, I’d also take care of him. But if on the third day I found another person, after getting that person to the hospital, I’d better walk upriver and find out how and why these bodies are getting into the stream! Both justice and kindness are important, but kindness deals with symptoms, and justice deals with causes.
The third requirement is humility. “Walk humbly with your God.” A person who walks humbly thinks, “It’s not about me. It’s all about Jesus. I don’t think less of myself, but I think about myself less. I want to be more of a listener than a talker, more of a giver than a taker, more of a servant than a boss.”
How do these three traits fit together? They all express what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. Justice is when you see someone mistreated, and you respond in love to rescue them. Kindness is when you see someone in need, and you respond in love to help them. Humility is when you see someone, and you focus on them and not yourself. All three traits—justice, kindness, and humility—reflect a heart of love. And all delight our God in heaven.