“Right now--- I said, RIIIIGHT now!”
The three-year old declares in her most authoritative voice as she stands before me in her bright pink princess dress; wagging a finger at me with one hand while the other hand is placed firmly on her hip. She is squared off and demanding to be seen, heard and responded to-- failing to respond to her in the manner she expects will only result in a temper tantrum of epic proportions; complete with “you no listen” accusations, stomping of feet, with tears and wailing.
I suppose that this type of behavior is fine (for a limited-time) in a three-year old, but it seems our society has adopted this same attitude. Especially, when we don’t get what we want, right when we want it or when things don’t work out the way we believe they should-- we stomp our feet, point the finger, and rage at the world!
Case in point….
Charlotte, North Carolina: Black police officer shoots black man who is armed and fails to listen to direct commands from police to drop his weapon. Tragically this encounter ends with a man dead and a city left like a war zone because the daughter of the deceased rants for over an hour while videoing the police investigation. She issues endless curses and accuses the police of all kinds of atrocities (to include sleeping with their daughters (yes, I can’t make this stuff up.)) She tirades that her father was killed just because he was black because that’s what “whites” do, she spews such venom and hatred that she effectively incites a riot. A riot of epic proportions that results in a highly traveled interstate being shut down, trucks looted with cargo burned, commuters assaulted, property destroyed, stores looted, innocents and police injured and days upon days of protesting.
An explosion of violence, hatred and mayhem committed by many who want to rage against the world while waving the justification banner of race and equality.
In the aftermath, we are left with heartbreak and grief at the senselessness of it all.
What was really accomplished?
Many say that it’s time that “black lives” matter equally to “white lives” and a demand for justice and equality is called.
My response has been and will continue to be that ALL LIVES MATTER.
In this particular situation, I grieve for the family of the deceased man, I grieve for the police officer that will live with taking a life on his conscience for the rest of his days and I grieve for our city in the wake of this tragedy.
Make no mistake…. it is a tragedy for ALL involved.
A tragedy that is more complex than just “black and white.”
What I find ironic now is to say all lives matter is politically incorrect and controversial. We have become so highly sensitive and easily offended that words wound so deeply that we harbor ill-will, bitterness and repressed rage towards others. Either we respond with outbursts and violence or we shrink in silence out of fear of persecution.
I recently had an exchange with a former co-worker on this point and her response was “It’s a given that all lives matter. But to ignore the black lives matter movement is to diminish the plight of those that have suffered racism. To be offended by black lives matter statements shows ignorance and attitude of superiority.”
I do not agree with her statements and especially do not agree that “it is a GIVEN that all lives matter,” because our society doesn’t demonstrate that all lives truly do matter.
Our society as a whole tells us that—
The unborn child that wasn’t planned and is unwanted- their life doesn’t matter.
The police officer that was shot simply because he/she wears a uniform - their life doesn’t matter.
The gang member that is killed because they wear a rival color- their life doesn’t matter.
The homeless person that is ignored and left on the streets to die from the elements—their life doesn’t matter.
The inmate on death row – their life no longer matters.
The young girl trapped in the sex trafficking trade- her life doesn’t matter.
If all lives truly did matter why aren’t we, as a society, outraged for ALL of these classes of people? Why are we not protesting and calling for justice on their behalf?
We seem to want to either ignore or rationalize certain situations and only take up our banner for outrage when the media tells us we should.
Where is our heart? Where is our intelligence? Where are our beliefs?
I believe that ALL lives matter to God and as Christians we too should believe and demonstrate that ALL lives matter- regardless of skin color, regardless of origins, regardless of age, regardless of choices, regardless of social-economic status and regardless of gender.
WE ALL MATTER- EQUALLY.
“Honor ALL people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”- 1 Peter 2:17
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are ALL ONE in Christ Jesus.” - Galatians 3:28
We need to appreciate that Satan takes delight in the discord, hatred and division that is festering in our community. As such, we need to stop magnifying our differences and start embracing our commonalities.
We need to be united and recognize that when we segregate one group of people over another, be it black, white or blue we have effectively caused division. We have effectively treated others differently based on their appearance in direct contradiction to what the Bible tells us—
“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.” - James 2:1
We need to start acting like children of the Most High God and stop judging, jumping to conclusions, making assumptions, being so easily offended and most importantly stop acting like victims.
The fact is we live in a corrupt and fallen world that will always have racism, prejudice and injustice present (ask the Jewish people about slavery and persecution- they have suffered anti-Semitism since 356 BC!)
God calls us to respond to racism, insults, hatred, prejudice and injustice not as the world responds with rage, violence and division but to “turn the other cheek.”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.” Matthew 5:38-40
When we respond in a manner that is atypical, it displays the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and magnifies the character of Christ.
Let us remember how Jesus himself responded to his accusers- WITH SILENCE. Further, he did not seek vengeance on those who crucified Him; rather He accepted their insults, their persecution and even death because He knew to whom He belonged and He knew the purpose His life served.
God calls us to be peacemakers…
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."- Matthew 5:9
And God calls us to forgive.
"For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:14-15
So my question to you….
what are you doing to actively bring unity and peace to your world?
Are you walking as children of the Most High God and truly believing and demonstrating that ALL lives matter? Are you relishing in what God says about you over what the world has to say about you? Are you believing God's truths over this world and trusting that God is in control in every situation? Are you responding to others with love, being peacemakers, forgiving and turning the other cheek when necessary?
Or are you throwing temper tantrums, raging against the world and pushing people further away with division, discord, accusations, distrust and complaints of unfairness and political incorrectness?
Friends, there is a better way!
What are you doing, RIGHT NOW?
Father, my heart grieves for the state of this world; the hate, distrust, prejudice, injustice and violence that is rampant. This is not your design. I pray for changing of hearts and opening of eyes to see others as you see them- to focus on the inside and not the outside. I pray that you will cover us with your grace and give us the ability to not be easily offended so that we judge and make assumptions. Give us a new vision to see our world and care for all the lives that are so precious to you. I pray for your guiding hand over our society that you would bring light to the evil and darkness in this world and that you would bring unity and peace.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”- John 14:27