The other day I was using the GPS on my phone to get our family to someone’s home. We had never been there and we had never even been in this particular area before. When we first punched the address in our system, it was more than happy to pre populate the destination as we added more details. We isolated the destination we assumed was correct and began our journey. When we arrived where the GPS had taken us it was clear that we were in the wrong place. We rechecked the address and discovered that one little word led to our failure. We allowed the system to select “Old” in front of the road name. We wasted time and energy traveling on an entirely different road than the one intended for us!
How often do we do this in life? We travel down so many paths in hopes that it will lead to the outcome we desire only to be shocked and dismayed when we realize that the effort was wasted. Some people, dare I say most people, don’t notice until it is entirely too late. People in Jesus’ day were not strangers to poor GPS guidance either. Many had ideas about what path would please God and lead them to temporal and eternal blessings. The prevalent view at the time was that only strict adherence to the law and traditional practices were acceptable. But Jesus showed them the error of their way time and time again.
His most pointed answer to their question regarding the way to walk was shared in Matthew 22. He says in verse 37 through 40 that God desires for us to navigate our lives on two things: Loving God and loving others. Everything rests on these two coordinates.
In thinking about that, I am actually surprised that the religious people at the time of Jesus were not already traveling this path. My thoughts wander to another passage in the Old Testament book of Micah. In the simplest, most basic terms possible God himself shares the road that leads to the destination He desires for them and us. 6:8 declares that He has shown us what is good and right; do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with Him. Perfect coordinates to living the life that we were always meant to live. A life of justice, mercy and humility.
It is interesting that to ignore the walk of love toward God and others ultimately leads us to the doorstep of injustice, cruelty and selfish idolatry. When we fail to love others we withhold kindness and mercy and begin to treat them like objects for our own benefit. The further we travel down the path of selfish indulgence the more we hold ourselves and our needs in highest regard. We become our own god and walk in pride and arrogance, further and further away from sacrifice and submission.
Aren’t these the attitudes and the paths that lead to sin and injustice of all kinds? Imagine being OK with the sexual enslavement of another human being for your own self-serving causes. As followers of Christ, who listen and heed His words we must not accept or allow injustice to thrive in ourselves or in the world around us. We have been shown what is beautiful and good. We have the opportunity and challenge to joyfully dance on the Micah road that displays justice and mercy and humility; to give a hot meal, a tender embrace or safe place to lay their head. We can call others to walk the same path and faithfully love God and those made in His likeness wherever the road may take us.
I don’t know about you but I hate getting lost on the wrong road. I want to use the time and energy provided in this life to share the glorious path of hope and life. There are so many paths. Be sure to check your directions.