"Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out
in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher)."
Each week of my stay in beautiful San Francisco the Lord has given me a different phrase or theme for the week. At first, I thought it was such a coincidence that every time I was still and not thinking about anything the same phrase would come to mind. Finally I realized this was no coincidence, but God speaking to me. So this past week the phrase "Seek justice, love mercy, walk humbly with your God" would play in my mind when I was riding the MUNI or walking down Ellis street or sitting around waiting for Brandon to get done playing so we can talk. (Side note: I miss him just a little...
or a lot.)
So as this kept playing over and over in my mind I started to think deeper about the meaning. First and foremost each one describes Jesus, right?! So then I thought well does each one describe me? I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time on the last one, "walk humbly with your God," because of various reasons, but let's just say it's not exactly my number 1... or 2 best asset out of the three.
Seek justice. I'm learning what that means daily and I hope to continue to learn more in my final two weeks here. Seek means to go in search of something and justice means the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action. So God is telling me to go in search of finding a right action. I like the sound of that, eh? That sounds really noble and impressive. I mean who even uses the word "ideal" in the correct context?! So that's part of what I'm doing here at BJM. I'm researching some of the brothels in San Francisco (that of course are not named brothels) and helping provide the ladies on full-time staff with the evidence that they need when they go to hearings to prevent more from opening or getting different a business permit.
As you would assume, we believe a lot of these women inside of these brothels in San Francisco have been trafficked here. Not a lot of things get me more angry than thinking of these women being lied to, hurt, abused, feeling hopeless, and MANY other things (but I am trying to be sensitive to the age of my readers). So it only takes about 1 minute of thinking about this stuff to make the act of seeking justice a piece of cake.
Love mercy. This one is a little tougher. Mercy means to not give punishment for an act that is wrong or sinful. I am suppose to love mercy. It's almost comical to think about my feelings towards mercy. Of course if the mercy is going to work in my favor I am all about showing mercy some love! But it becomes a little tricky when we are talking about other people. It almost sounds like a complete contradiction to seeking justice, but that's what is so cool about God. He can tell you to do two things that sound opposite because He is able to do that.
There is a lady in the bible named Mary Magdalene of whom Jesus cast out seven demons. Most of what is recorded about her is her life after conversion, but let's stop and imagine what a woman with seven demons living inside of her might have been like. She was probably a bit unpleasant to be around, promiscuous, and quite selfish among other things. Picture yourself running into a modern day Mary Magdalene pre-conversion. I'm going to assume your first thought is not going to be, " I should love her because I love mercy." Unfortunately, this is most people's last thought - including my own. My first thoughts when I see someone like this, for example that seems to be "willingly" (and I use that very lightly) prostituting themselves generally are pretty judging.
But not Jesus. No, Jesus has mercy on his mind. He looked deeper than the surface and saw a troubled, hurting, broken individual that needing loving mercy. He saw a woman worthy of being the first person He spoke to upon His resurrection. Did you catch that?! Mary Magdalene was the first person that Jesus spoke to after He raised from the dead according to John 20:10-18. How simply wonderful is that!?!? My Savior chose not someone of high popularity, but instead a broken woman that had been healed my His mercy and His love. I literally get tears every time I picture that scene playing out in real life.
So what does this mean for you and me? It means maybe we should get off our high horse and stop judging people so quickly. Maybe we should recognize there is spiritual warfare going on that we can't see. Maybe it means we should ask God to show us how to simultaneously seek justice AND love mercy.
Why must we do both at the same time? Because we are to love mercy and because justice matters.
Love y'all so