by Paul E. Chapman
Micah was a Judean prophet from the Southwest of Israel. He prophesied during the reigns of three kings—Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.
Jotham was a good king, but did not remove the idolatrous high places.
Ahaz was a wicked king with a pro-Assyrian foreign policy. The Northern Kingdom was taken captive during his reign.
Hezekiah was a good king for most of his reign. His anti-Assyrian policies led to the siege of Jerusalem by Sennacherib.
Those were difficult days for the common people in Judea. They were harassed by the enemy, exploited by the rich (Micah 2:1-13), taken advantage of by their rulers (Micah 3:1-4), and distracted by the message of false prophets (Micah 3:5-8).
The key verse in this book is Micah 6:8, which says, He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
There were many reasons for the people of God to be discouraged, angry, and depressed. Micah was encouraging the people to rise above the drama of the day.
We need this reminder today!
We live in a day of information overload!
Twenty-four-hour news cycles pump our heads full of problems, fears, injustice, and troubles from around the world. Bad news gets good ratings. Fear causes people to tune in so the media peddles trouble just as a drug dealer.
Furthermore, social media brings the world to our lives. Although it has the potential to do much good, most of the content of social media is not uplifting or edifying.
Conflict, debate, strife, foolish questions, false doctrine, compromise, etc. abound on social networks. We have enough problems with which to deal in our lives without being drawn into other people’s problems!
The solution that God gave through Micah 1,300 years ago will work for us today!
What does that mean?
- In conformity to law, justice or propriety; by right. The offender is justly condemned. The hero is justly rewarded, applauded or honored.
- According to truth and facts. His character is justly described.
- Honestly; fairly; with integrity; as, to do justly. Micah 6:8
- Properly; accurately; exactly.
As defined by the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
What is justice?
- The virtue which consists in giving to everyone what is his due; practical conformity to the laws and to principles of rectitude in the dealings of men with each other; honesty; integrity in commerce or mutual intercourse. Justice is distributive or commutative. Distributive justice belongs to magistrates or rulers, and consists in distributing to every man that right or equity which the laws and the principles of equity require; or in deciding controversies according to the laws and to principles of equity. Commutative justice consists in fair dealing in trade and mutual intercourse between man and man.
- Impartiality; equal distribution of right in expressing opinions; fair representation of facts respecting merit or demerit. In criticisms, narrations, history or discourse, it is a duty to do justice to every man, whether friend or foe.
- Equity; agreeableness to right; as, he proved the justice of his claim. This should, in strictness, be justness.
As defined by the Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Justice is defined by God’s Word.
Satan constantly tries to redefine this vital word. For example, social justice is a buzz phrase that distorts justice based on intersectional grievances and perceived insults.
We do not need social justice. We need true justice. True justice is the impartial application of God’s Truth.
We could paraphrase this by saying, “Do the right thing.” This is not what is “right” in man’s eyes, but in God’s eyes.
We rise above the craziness of this world by staying focused on God and keeping His commandments. We cannot make others do right, but we can obey God. We must not get distracted by other people’s foolishness. We must say with Joshua, …as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15)
We can each change our little slice of the world by doing justly.
What is mercy?
MERCY(definition) – That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being. (As defined by Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)
People tend to desire mercy for themselves while they pronounce judgment on others.
The Lord told us to love mercy. This speaks of how we treat people.
- Merciful or judgmental?
- Forgiving or vindictive?
- Tender-hearted or hard-hearted?
- Encouraging or discouraging?
- Helpful or hurtful?
- Caring or selfish?
- Kind or harsh?
- Loving or hateful?
- Spiritual or carnal?
- Unifying or divisive?
- Constructive or destructive?
People tend to desire mercy for themselves while they pronounce judgment on others.
Jesus Christ was the perfect balance of truth and mercy. Truth must be balanced with mercy in order to help people.
Proverbs 16:6—By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
Do we love mercy?
Walk humbly with God.
Philippians 2:5—Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Humility is an attribute of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are told to walk humbly, but what does humbly mean?
HUMBLY(definition) – In a humble manner; with modest submissiveness; with humility. (As defined by Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)
Humility reminds me that I am a servant of God. I am not a domineering ruler. I am not a judge, jury, or executioner. My purpose in life is to exalt God and to spread His Truth.
It is not my place to police the world. I have my hands full while I am striving to live for God.
Humility reminds us who we are in the grand scheme of things. God is the Judge. I am His humble servant.
Romans 14:4—Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
Certainly, there are times to stand against sin, to point out compromise, and to fight for the truth, but all of this should be done by a humble servant with a broken heart.
We must not only walk humbly but walk humbly with God. Are we walking with God? Do we pray, read our Bibles, go to church, and seek God daily? Are we living in full surrender to the King of kings and Lord of lords? We must never allow other people’s drama to keep us from walking with God!
How tiring it is to hear hypocrites say that they do not go to church because of hypocrites! This is foolishness. We must take our eyes off of people and look steadfastly to God. If we do not obey God because of fools, we become fools ourselves.
Let us start our days with God in the morning and walk with Him all day long!
PRACTICAL HELPS TO RISE ABOVE THE DRAMA ONLINE
The internet has become such a large part of life that we must devise biblical principles to use it wisely. These strategies will keep us from getting stuck in the online sewer.
Mind our own business.
The Internet and social media have connected the world. While this has definite advantages, it has terrible consequences also.
The world has gotten a lot smaller. The personal, professional, and ministry problems of people from around the world are brought to our attention.
God did not create us to deal with the problems of the world. We have our hands full with our own lives. We must not get bogged down with issues, problems, or people that are none of our concern.
1 Thessalonians 4:11—And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
This phrase …study to be quiet,… means, “strive to refrain from meddlesomeness.”
When I was a kid, the Enquirer magazine was advertised often. It was the first popular “gossip” magazine. Their tagline was, “Enquiring minds want to know.” Outrageous headlines of Elvis sightings, alien landings, etc. were often on the cover. They made millions from society’s sin nature.
Not much has changed. People are curious. The flesh loves to gossip. Most people want to be “in the know.” We must fight this sinful tendency in order to stay sane in the information age!
1 Peter 4:15—But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
God puts butting our noses in where they do not belong in the same list with the sins of murder and thievery! Wow! Some people thrive on drama. Let us not be one of them. We will wear ourselves out by taking on burdens and battles that God did not intend for us.
To put it in terms of famous sayings:
“Stay in your lane.”
“Mind your own business.”
“You don’t have to choose a side in every battle.”
We must spend our time and energy on the things within our God-given jurisdictions. We have our hands full there already!
Do not take up another’s offense.
God will give us grace when people attack and offend us. However, if we choose to take up someone else’s offense that grace may not be available. That is why it is possible for us to struggle with other people’s problems more than the people going through them!
Some people love drama. They cause divisions and stir up offenses contrary to God’s Word. The Bible is clear—avoid them!
Romans 16:17 – Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
We must not allow toxic people to poison us.
I am not advocating for others to put their heads in the sand. Sometimes there are problems or issues that demand attention. We must call out sin and compromise. Nevertheless, we must ensure that we are not borrowing trouble or meddling in other people’s affairs.
Let us choose our battles wisely!
If we feel that we must get involved, or the situation is part of our God-given jurisdiction, we must handle the matter wisely.
Proverbs 16:20—He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.
Assume people are innocent until proven guilty.
This is one of the foundational principles of law. An accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This means the burden of proof is on the accuser to prove guilt.
However, in recent days it seems that paradigm has shifted. Today, an accusation is often accepted as fact and the burden is placed on the accused to prove innocence.
That may not sound like a big deal, but believe me, it will be when we are the ones who are falsely accused!
In addition, too many cases are brought to a close with circumstantial evidence taking the place of hard proof.
This is not only bad for the legal system, but it is terrible for personal relations. Moreover, it is unbiblical. This concept has crept its way into churches and is wreaking havoc among God’s people.
Assume innocence unless there is proof to the contrary.
God’s standard of guilt is two or three eyewitnesses.
If we must deal with a situation in our areas of responsibility, we must follow God’s standard of guilt. This eye-witness standard is confirmed in six verses of Scripture.
Deuteronomy 19:15—One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
This idea may be difficult to swallow for many well-meaning people. We may wonder what happens in the cases of those who sin and no one else knows. Point 6 will tell us what to do in those instances.
In His infinite wisdom, our Lord knew that no one person should be trusted to wield life and death power over another by accusation alone.
Do we not know that people lie? One of the ten commandments is that we not bear false witness! Why would such a simple rule be one of the top ten rules for humanity? It is because people do it, A LOT.
Moreover, sincere witnesses can misremember, add commentary, or misunderstand what they saw or heard.
Every credible accusation should be investigated. Credible criminal accusations should be turned over to the police.
Proverbs 25:2—It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
However, a credible accusation is not cause for a declaration of guilt; it is cause for an investigation. God says that only by two or three witnesses can someone be found guilty.
These are witnesses who saw with their own eyes or heard with their own ears. Also, the witnesses and their stories must be examined for veracity.
Deuteronomy 19:18-20—And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you. And those which remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil among you.
In Bible times, the penalty for false witnesses was severe. Why? If one person’s testimony could destroy someone’s life, then that lie would destroy the liar’s life. This kept the accuser honest.
Today, it seems that people can make false accusations without penalty. If they destroy their targets, it is fine. If not, the accusers still devastate their targets and move on with their lives. This should not be!
There is a percentage of people online who desire to be judge and jury over the issues.
I am sad to say that some people have been truly hurt and never found healing. Hurting people often hurt people. Others are cynical and judgmental. Some scorners have found their voices online and spend their time attacking anyone and everyone.
We must never be part of the internet mob convicting people on hearsay. In fact, if we were minding our own business, ninety-five percent of the online drama would be off limits anyway.
If we feel that we must take a stand, we must do our due diligence and search out the matter carefully before we pronounce a judgment.
Let the accused defend themselves before making a decision.
If we must make decisions on situations that affect us, our families, or our churches, we must be sure to hear both sides of the story. We must never decide that someone is guilty on hearsay or gossip.
God hates it when the guilty are proclaimed innocent and the innocent are proclaimed guilty.
Proverbs 17:15—He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.
Before we proclaim someone a sinner, a heretic, a liar, a predator, a pedophile, an apostate, a thief, unfit, etc., we had better be sure of the facts—ALL of the facts.
It is just too easy to run our mouths or let our fingers type about issues of which we do not have full knowledge.
How many people condemn themselves as they falsely condemn others?
The American system of law allows a defendant to answer the charges of a crime before a determination is made.
We may hear a well-ordered argument for condemnation and be convinced. Then we may hear the defense and come to the conclusion that the persuasive argument we heard now holds no water.
If we are only getting one side of the story or only bits and pieces of the other, then our own judgments cannot be trusted. Good people with bad information make bad decisions. We must make sure we have the facts.
We must talk to the accused personally if at all possible.
We must assume innocence until proof of guilt.
We must never make a public proclamation without ALL of the facts.
It is a lot of work to investigate a situation thoroughly enough to pronounce guilt in a godly fashion. We must do the work and NOT spread rumors.
Leave it to God.
What happens to those who do wrong and no one is there to see it? What if we suspect something is wrong, but have no evidence? What if we see something that is wrong and no one believes us? What if we are falsely accused and people are believing the lies?
It may be that someone will lie about us when we are innocent. It happens. Sometimes guilty people will lie or wiggle their way out of consequences for sin in spite of an investigation. Do these sinners just get away with it? God forbid.
Understand me clearly: nobody ever gets away with anything. God always balances the ledger, if not in this life, then in eternity.
Unfortunately, everybody will have to deal with sinful situations that affect their lives. Sometimes people lie and there is no hard evidence to a situation that needs to be resolved.
This is an opportunity for us to trust God. Give the situation to Him. Ask Him to reveal what needs to be known. Pray that He would give wisdom going forward. I have seen God bring details to light in such a way that the best of liars had to admit their sins.
We must not get discouraged. We must not lose our faith. We must keep our eyes on the Lord.
Romans 12:17–21 – Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the LORD. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
God will take care of it all. Nobody is getting away with anything. He is the Master. We are the servants. Let us leave the outcome up to God.
Some may see this article as a defense of wrongdoers, and it is not that at all. It is a plea for sanity and a return to biblical principles of justice.
Our world is filled with drama and distraction. We must never allow these things to come between us and God. We can rise above it all with God’s help.
Walk humbly with God.
Follow these principles to stay sane and productive in a crazy world.