BY DON PEDRO VELIZ
A family walks together at the Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya. Through long term response by LWR and our partner Lutheran World Federation they can be on the road to a more sustainable future.
Don Pedro is LWR’s longest serving staff member. He offered the following devotion at the Latin America team meeting in 2010 (Translated from Spanish).
In order to make sure we are following Micah 6:8, we must ensure that we are not like the bloody Pharisees whose white tunics were always bloody because they didn’t want to look at or see the reality of what was happening around them. They walked bent over, with their heads and eyes down so they wouldn’t have to see injustice, pain or poverty. As a result of their desire to be blind, they were literally bloody because they bumped into trees and other obstacles. They were figuratively bloody because of what they ignored.
Sometimes we are like the bleeding Pharisees. Sometimes we think that not looking and not seeing what is wrong or unjust around us means that we didn’t violate the law. That is not enough. God calls for preventative justice. This preventative justice is very difficult because our sin runs very deep. We are natural sinners and natural transgressors. We try to see how we can be good and sometimes we think we are good. We want to stand with and do good for our fellow man. But we must remember that solidarity isn’t just being a “good guy;” we must have disinterested mercy that is worthy of the other person.
The key to be humble before God is to ensure that we are walking with awareness and that we are walking humbly. The best example we can look to for humility and obedience is Jesus. Jesus died on the cross because he did what his father asked of him. He died, nailed to the cross.
The more I have read and thought about Micah 6:8, the more I understand why the passage leads Lutheran World Relief ’s strategy. Justice, mercy and obedience to God are fundamental elements of LWR’s work and these three lead to true accompaniment. We need to step back and remember that accompaniment isn’t in the papers, the documents or the statistics. Accompaniment isn’t just in looking at what is wrong. And accompaniment isn’t just in “walking with;” sometimes accompaniment means we need to be like a stone in someone’s shoe: never giving up and even possibly annoying until change occurs — to all involved.
What does Micah 6:8 mean to you?
Gracious Lord, what do you require of me, but to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with you? Fill me with the grace to follow that call, AMEN.