And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. - Micah 6:8
I feel like I've seen this verse a lot over the past 3-5 years. Not just in church, but in pop culture in general. You can even get a t-shirt! (https://www.zazzle.com/walk+humbly+tshirts - FULL DISCLOSURE - I think we have a t-shirt with this Scripture on it :). I'm not saying that I think everyone loves Micah 6:8 or even knows what it is exactly about. What I am saying is that pop culture reveals something about what is lying just underneath the surface - and there is something going on with these t-shirts and the need to quote Micah 6:8.
My thoughts here are on the "walk humbly" section of that verse. To be blunt - I think we love the t-shirt, but we don't really do what it says. It's like someone wearing a t-shirt of a band and not owning any of their albums - there is a disconnect there and not a lot of credibility.
What is Micah (more importantly God) getting at here? Unlike other OT passages I don't think we're facing much danger in applying the Scripture to us today as humility is a central attribute of a follower of God in the NT as well (Matthew 5:5 - meekness has humility as a partner). What does it mean for a Christ-followers to walk humbly. Without expanding I am defining humility as Christ. Christ is both humble and humility itself. The sister to this is the surrounding culture. What does it mean to be humble in our culture or in what ways can we be humble that will make a difference in the surrounding culture? Let me suggest a few ways here:
1. Humble in our words (particularly on social media) - The dangers and misuses of social media are well catalogued. I don't want to be the "get off my lawn" guy, but daily I am amazed at what my Christian friends post on social media. Further, it's the attitude with which they post. It seems people (yeah, I know - big surprise) are willing to say things on line that they would never say to someone or a group of people in person. The other day as I was perusing my news feed I saw one of my Christian acquaintances refer to Dr. Fauci as "Fraud Fauci" as they proceeded to lambast him and his seeming inconsistent approach to COVID-19. Quite apart from whether I agree with them on their beliefs on Dr. Fauci I was disturbed by their need to denigrate someone personally "in public." Name calling and ad-hominem arguments are just embarrassing for Christians and reveal quite more about the person engaging in them than the person they are attacking. We need to do better and be better than this. If we want to be a part of and taken seriously in the public square than we need to be more articulate.
2. Humble in our reading of Scripture - I've written about this before, but it bears repeating. Christians need to have a larger umbrella for those who might disagree with their reading of a particular Scriptural passage or theological idea. We need to admit that we don't have it all worked and figured out. There are still questions to be answered, positions to be nuanced, and dialog to happen. So much more to say here . . .
3. Humble in our interactions - this relates somewhat to point #1 above. In our interactions with people we should do more listening than talking. What is needed in our lives as Christians is less insisting we are right and more listening to others to at least (at the bare minimum) show that we care. Somewhere along the line we have bought into the idea that if we are silent and listening it must mean we are accepting what the other person or party is saying. This is false. Further, I've come to believe that it takes a lot more strength to be silent and listen than it does to open my mouth and strongly state my opinion about something. I'll get my chance to talk, but I may never get a chance to listen to this person again if I anger or frustrate them and they walk away.