Do All Lives Really Matter?
July 15th, 2016 / By: Terry Turner | Pastor, Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church / comments
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1John 4:7-8).
Love in the midst of trauma is the answer to the cry “Do Black Lives Matter?” This question has sent America into one of the most confused race-relationship eras since the Civil Rights movement of the ‘60s. There are many voices speaking out in this racially charged climate, but too many are not inspired with the words of God to bring unity and healing. When America is caught in a racial divide, the body of Christ must impact the world with the love of God for all people. The federal, state or local governments cannot solve hatred within the hearts of people—only the love of God displayed by the people of God can help to change the wickedness in human hearts. God’s people are consistently called to show love in the midst of sinful situations. The Apostle Peter reminds us of the power in love; he says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Believers must love those who are difficult for us to love if we are going to make a difference in the lives of lost men and women.
Please hear this cry: enough is enough. Christian brothers and sisters, it’s time to put away the biased thinking that keeps us divided and embrace all people in godly love. Our lost world will never change unless the people of God see the pain of all people groups. Our hearts are broken over the killing of our police officers in Dallas, but we should also have had broken hearts over every black life taken by police over minor offenses, guilty or innocent. To see men die for trivial reasons is despairing in the black community. It is our hope that all Americans will love and respect the law enforcement officers that protect us, but it’s difficult when one group is frequently traumatized by killings. My dear mother would always say, “A right does not wrong anybody,” and, “Baby, God sees those who do ugly.” Amazingly, in America, we have lived so long in our biased world that wrong is not always realized when seen. The people of God must open our eyes, ears and hearts to the lives and struggles of others of different races. Will God hold Christians accountable for loving brothers and sisters who look like themselves or for loving all the human family? “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother” (1 John 4:20-21).
When the love of God is missing, the world becomes a wicked place and we find ourselves asking the tough questions. What is happening in America when Micah Johnson, a 25-year-old black man, takes a gun into Dallas and kills five white police officers in the name of racial hatred? How powerful is racial hatred when a white man, Dylann Roof, walks into a black church prayer meeting in South Carolina and kills nine church members after joining them in prayer? What causes a police officer to kill a man over the trivialities of selling cigarettes, selling CD’s on the streets or for a broken taillight? What fear is in the hearts of police officers that causes them to kill a 12-year-old boy playing in the park with a toy gun? The ultimate questions lie with the body of Christ. When will Christians love all people enough to stop the madness in our land? Will the church ever stand up and call those in the body who are divisive in their statements into accountability? We must realize those who love some and not all provide a negative image of the body of Christ. “So Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him’” (Acts 10:34-35).
All Lives Matter is a call to join in healing of the hurts endured by people from all races. The power of love born in the hearts of the people of God is the only answer for the racial issues that exist in Dallas and America. When the church is committed to live as Jesus commanded, she can teach the world that the love of God is able to deliver from racial hatred. Yes, all lives matter to born-again Christians who are committed to live by the Word of God. The cry of the protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement is a call for America to see the pain of black Americans who are losing their lives over senseless reasons. This chant does not reduce the importance of white lives, brown lives, red lives or yellow lives—yes, All Lives Matter. There are some in America who say the cry “Black Lives Matter” is not being inclusive of all people groups and is therefore a racial statement. In contrast, the majority of black Americans might consider it offensive to question the fact that black lives matter and think it is racist not to be supportive of the statement. Black lives are a part of “all lives;” therefore, black lives matter.
Many Christians are praying for the day when Americans will have no need to recognize the race of a person and we can be truly one race. America has come a long way, but we still have a long way to go if we are going to overcome the dark days of our past. Perhaps, the people who see the Black Lives Matter movement as racist have forgotten that America, in its infancy, promoted racism and black America has always been its main target.
The power of love within Christianity has been a source of healing for many in the black community as proclaimed by the Lord Jesus Christ, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18). This Scripture is key to healing in our country because America termed blacks as chattel slaves and subhuman from 1619 to 1865—black lives did not matter. This way of thinking continued from 1865 until 1965 when black lives in freedom were legally considered second-class citizens under Jim Crow laws, a time when black lives did not matter as much as white lives. Now we are only 51years after the end of the Jim Crow laws, and the residuals of racism are still in the hearts of many in our country. For many whites today, the concept of superiority over blacks is associated with the belief that blacks should be feared or subjected to abuse.
The final question Christians must consider is how history will record our handling of sin, hatred and racism in present-day America. Will they see us walking in the power of love for healing or yielding to the wiles of Satan through hatred, racism and divisiveness? We all need each other’s understanding to overcome these perilous times. Let’s be intentional and love everybody, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:1).