Character Matters

I had every intention of posting on Daniel Lamoureux’s book last Thursday. Diving once again into the questions of science and Christian faith.

And then I couldn’t.

I have seen Micah 6:8 quoted several times in the last few days.

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.

To top it off, I picked up an old Reader’s Digest from January 2009 (randomly out of a large stack in our bathroom, but perhaps the hand of the Spirit was at work). This issue has a feature on advice for President Obama as he began his first term and one of those asked to supply advice was the Reverend Billy Graham (p 165). I quote just a bit of Graham’s advice here:

More than 2,700 years ago, the Jewish prophet Micah said to the people of his day “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Could any words be more appropriate as you assume office?

Look carefully at Micah’s three injunctions. First he exhorts you to “act justly” – to do what is right, not just what is politically expedient. Power brings with it many temptations that can be almost overwhelming … Know them, resist them, and make it your goal to live with integrity and with enthusiasm for justice.

Then Micah charges you to “love mercy” – not just to practice mercy but to make it your passion. …

Finally, Micah calls you to “walk humbly with your God.” Every word in this phrase is important. … But you can’t truly walk with God if you allow pride or ego to dominate you.

I am not prepared to argue that President Obama followed this advice (or even knew that Reverend Graham offered it), but I will argue that Graham was right. Any Christian leader, whether in the church, or in government, or in academics, or in business, should follow this advice. We should honor those who do follow this way and challenge those who don’t. Character matters.

I watched the resumption of debate over the electoral votes from about 8 pm Wednesday until 3:47 am Thursday morning, focusing primarily on the Senate (frankly the rhetoric I heard in the House was disgusting on both side of the aisle for the short time I listened, before turning down the volume and dozing until the joint session resumed).

I respected Kelly Loeffler, the Senator from Georgia, who, when it came her turn to speak after the riots, noted that she had planned to object to the certification but given the events of the day could not in good conscience do so. She had a hard week.

I wish I could have similar respect for the man who represents me in Congress (the representative for the Congressional district where I live and vote), a former pastor with a degree from Wheaton, who found that he could continue to object to certification and did so.

I pray that President Biden, when he assumes office in about a week and a half, does take the words  of Micah to heart. I also pray for every member of Congress to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

May we all do so.

If you wish to contact me directly you may do so at rjs4mail[at]att.net

This post is also available at Jesus Creed, now published as a Christianity Today blog.

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