At the LCMS church’s Lenten service, the main text was Micah 6:8. There, God exhorts the Israelites to “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God” (KJV).
A. The pastor said that many people are outraged when they do not get the good things that they justly deserve: if one’s brother gets a larger piece of cake, for example, they are upset. Meanwhile, people are equally outraged when others do not get the negative karma that they think those others should receive for their bad deeds. In their view, justice means good things for themselves and bad things for others. I can see such a double standard within myself. I desire good things for myself. I am told by Christianity, however, that I am supposed to desire good things for those I cannot stand, but my negative emotions get in the way of me doing that, at least authentically. Does Christianity ask the impossible of me when it instructs me to sincerely desire good for those I cannot stand? Perhaps. At the same time, is it logical for me to say that I deserve good things while those I cannot stand do not? We are both humans. I am not better than them.
B. The pastor said that Jesus willingly took our punishment in our place. Looking back at our childhood, he asked, would we be willing to take a spanking for somebody else’s misdeed, or to go to bed without supper, or to go to the principal’s office, all for something that somebody else did? The pastor asked this to get us to appreciate the love behind Jesus’s self-sacrifice. He asked a good question. I would be unwilling to experience punishment that someone else deserves, not only because it inconveniences me, but also because I can picture others gobbling that up as if it is their due, failing to appreciate my sacrifice.
C. The pastor said that we should see others as people for whom Jesus died, even if we do not like them or consider them friends.