"black lives matter"
"all lives matter"
"back the blue"
"I can't breathe"
It seems like every day we see or hear a new slogan online that we must choose to recognize or ignore. Social media presents its own case for every stance, weaving an emotional web of photos, videos, and phrases to try and gain our support. Yet what would Jesus do? What should WE as Christians do or say about these various issues?
I've seen many faith-based leaders address these issues and I will be honest, I have felt many of their responses have been lackluster- many leaders are holding back for fear of what others will do or say in response to their opinions. How did these topics become so polarized?
I've written on this topic several times before and I will include those posts linked at the bottom of this article. Despite touching on this topic before, I have decided it was worth a re-visit as each of these various movements continues to grow and many of my followers continue to share their questions or comments on the matter.
When it comes to any topic in our lives I believe there are two things we must do: define our terms and then go to scripture and see what God says about it.
Let's start with defining the terms:
According to Google, "Black Lives Matter" is a decentralized political and social movement advocating for non-violent civil disobedience in protest against incidents of police brutality and all racially motivated violence against black people.
According to Google, "All Lives Matter" is a slogan that has come to be associated with criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Despite these being the technical definitions of these two terms, it has become apparent that many people have their own views and definitions of what each phrase means. For example, the majority of my friends and family who support "Black Lives Matter" do so because they are supportive of equality and have experienced or witnessed racial injustice that they believe needs to be addressed. On the flip side, my friends and family who support "All Lives Matter" also are supportive of equality and have witnessed aspects of the black lives matter movement that they feel exclude non-black ethnicities of support.
What does Scripture say?
Philippians 4:8 says "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
What does this verse mean? I believe it means that whatever we unite ourselves with must first pass the test of being true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. As we think about Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter we must ask ourselves: is this movement true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable?
A quick glance at recent headlines will bring to light negative aspects of BOTH of these movements:
"Protestors scream 'I hope they F-ing die!' outside of hospital where injured cops are being treated."
"8-year- old girl murdered amid BLM protest"
"Woman named Karen seeks to legally change her name after receiving death threats."
"All lives matter organized event leads to street fights, vandalism."
"BLM advocates spit on white elderly outside cafe."
Is it true? Is it noble? Is it right? Is it pure? Is it lovely? Is it admirable?
As I read these headlines, my response to all of these questions has to be "no".
"But what if I don't mean it like that."
Do your social media followers know you don't mean it like that? Do members of the other groups know that you don't mean it like that? Do the friends you've accidentally pushed away or offended know you don't mean it like that? If you don't mean it like that perhaps you should ask why you are posting it.
In several of my discussions with friends on these issues, I've been told this. "Of course I don't support violence...", "Of course I value the feelings of the black community..." Supporters of BLM say that they do not agree with the looting or the verbal abuse and violence some supporters have chosen to partake in. Supporters of ALM say they don't agree with the racist members of the organization who use ALM to mock the black community. I realize that people in both groups are well-intending, but we must realize that we cannot pick and choose when it comes to such divisive situations. You can accept all of a movement or none of it.
The Bible says, “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:15)
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet." (Mattew 5:13)
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:33)
These verses apply to more than just our support and uplifting of the gospel. When we unite ourselves with any cause, we are either all in or all out. This is important for us to recognize. We cannot only focus on the good of a movement or group, we must also recognize the bad. We lose our credibility with others when we make alliances with things that we only half agree with. Imagine if I claimed to be a Bible-based blogger yet then proceeded to tell you all the books in the Bible that I disagree with and discredit. But I'm a Bible-based blogger...right?
"I want to fight inequality and bring on justice for all!"
The good news is, we can absolutely do that! Since when did we need a title, a group, or an organization to empower us to be the change in the world? The world is trying to reinvent something that Jesus has already revealed to us- the need for us to love others and serve our community. As Christians, we don't need to unite with a political or social group because we are united with Jesus.
"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."
1 Peter 4:10
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?"
If you want to solve the problems of this world, you must bring the world to Jesus. We are all broken people, we cannot explain what real justice is. We do not know what true equality looks like. We don't have the answers to the civil unrest we see. It is the Holy Spirit infiltrating our world that allows any good to take place. In everything that you unite yourself with remember that above all else, we must love God and love others.
"Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Read other posts on this topic: