Understanding God’s Call for The World
Do you ever feel like the world is hungering for more of God’s justice, mercy and love?
These three things that the world seems to be lacking are mentioned time and again throughout the entire Bible as both a description of God’s character and a call to action.
God is just. He is merciful. He is love. And He asks us to be the same.
God knew that evil in the world would cause us to divide against each other, hold grudges, hate our neighbors and selfishly turn a blind eye when people are hurting. But He wanted more for us, and He encourages us to live above the ways of the world.
What might the world look like if we followed God’s call for Justice, Mercy and Love?
The Bible verses below are FULL of encouragement to live a life overflowing with these three characteristics.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
God is Love
If there is one word that best captures the heart of God, it is love.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. (Psalm 103:8)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)
God Asks Us to Love
Jesus tells us to love above ALL else. Love God and love others. The message to love first is consistent and frequent throughout the entire Bible…these are just a few of many instances.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:10)
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18)
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:14)
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” (1 Peter 3:8)
Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do. (1 Corinthians 16:14)
What Does it Look Like to Really LOVE Your Neighbor?
It is easy to say…love your neighbor. It is harder to put into action. Here are examples of what loving your neighbor looks like in action.
No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. (1 Corinthians 10:24)
Live happily together in a spirit of harmony, and be as mindful of another’s worth as you are your own. Don’t live with a lofty mindset, thinking you are too important to serve others, but be willing to do menial tasks and identify with those who are humble minded. Don’t be smug or even think for a moment that you know it all. (Romans 12:16)
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
So, whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)
Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. (Romans 15:2)
Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. (Romans 14:13)
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:9-10)
To show compassion. To quickly forgive an offense. To withhold penalty even if deserved.
God Showed Us Mercy
But God still loved us with such great love. He is so rich in compassion and mercy. Even when we were dead and doomed in our many sins, he united us into the very life of Christ and saved us by his wonderful grace! (Ephesians 2:4-5)
Jesus said [As He hung on the cross], “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
God Asks us to Show Mercy
Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:36-37)
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. ( Matthew 5:7)
But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. If anyone hits you on one cheek, let him hit the other one too; if someone takes your coat, let him have your shirt as well. Give to everyone who asks you for something, and when someone takes what is yours, do not ask for it back. Do for others just what you want them to do for you. (Luke 6:27-31)
To make right that which is wrong. To confront evil. To care for the vulnerable.
God is Just
Sometimes people fear the idea of a just God because they are personally afraid of His judgment on them, but there is nothing to fear! If you have a relationship with God through His son, Jesus, your sins have been forgiven and you do not have to fear judgment. Rather you can find great comfort in knowing that God will right every wrong and judge evil harshly, not you!
But the Lord reigns forever, executing judgment from his throne. He will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness. The Lord is a shelter for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:7-9)
Behold my servant [Jesus], whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth, and the coastlands wait for his law. (Isaiah 42:1-4)
I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and will execute justice for the needy. (Psalm 140:12)
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)
God Ask Us to Stand for Justice
God cares deeply for the oppressed, the poor, the hurting and asks us to look out for them and seek justice.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice. (Proverbs 31:8-9)
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)
My friends, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, you must never treat people in different ways according to their outward appearance. Suppose a rich man wearing a gold ring and fine clothes comes to your meeting, and a poor man in ragged clothes also comes. If you show more respect to the well-dressed man and say to him, “Have this best seat here,” but say to the poor man, “Stand over there, or sit here on the floor by my feet,” then you are guilty of creating distinctions among yourselves and of making judgments based on evil motives. (James 2:1-4)
Remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free. Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives. (Isaiah 58:6-7)
This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other. (Zechariah 7:9-10)