Another week has gone by and there has been more violence and threats of violence. There have been numerous opinions touted, grand standing from politicians, lines of division more distinctly drawn, and the media continues to highlight the challenges, distort reality and to fill us with more questions. All the while I’m still feeling confused, angry, hopeless and well, hot!
I’ve heard many suggest that instead of Black Lives Matter, the slogan should be All Lives Matter and while I believe that all lives are valuable, we can’t lose sight of the intention and purpose of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Think about this analogy. You wake up to the smell of smoke and you quickly realize that your home is on fire. As you begin your exit, you call 9-1-1. You’re frantically speaking to the operator and you share, “I need help. My home is on fire. Please send the fire department right away!” Then your continue, “My address is –“ and the operator cuts you off and says, “Ma’am we don’t need your address. All of the homes in your housing development matter. Let’s not make this fire about you.”
Agreed. All homes matter but when one home is in crisis, that particular home needs focused attention and additional or different resources. I’ll say it again. I believe that ALL lives matter, but at this time, in this space, Black Lives need focused attention because in the midst of all of the tragedy and this most recent crisis, children are still hurting, families are still broken and our communities are still impoverished.
Let’s not get lost in the chaos, fear and uncertainty. Let’s use this anger, this passion, and this fire within us to make a difference in the lives of our children, families, and communities. Consider for a moment Jesus’ years on earth and the divergent political, social, and religious context in which He lived and served. You had the Zealot movement that advocated violence and rebellion to rid Israel of Roman oppression. Some even viewed them as freedom-fighters or terrorists. Then there were the Sadducees, the wealthy nobles, priests and aristocrats, who wanted to protect their power and saw Jesus as a threat to their status. And let’s not forget the Pharisees who sought to live a life of spiritual purity by a scrupulous adherence to the law. In many instances, their dogmatic following of the law served as a pretext for hypocrisy. There was also racial discrimination against the Gentiles, there was mistreat of the poor and the widowed and women were treated as second-class citizens.
Yet, despite what was happening around Jesus, He was about His Father’s business. The business of meeting needs, ministering to lost souls, and inviting them into relations with Him. Jesus healed (Luke 9:42), fed (Matthew 14:13-21), encouraged (John 4:1-26), educated (Matthew 4:23), advocated for the poor (Luke 14:13, Mark 10:21) and offered and the gift of eternal life (I John 2:25). "Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." Robert J. Kennedy
Often times when people are oppressed, they act irrationally as this seems to be the only way they believe they can fight back. Maybe, just maybe, those of us who can, need to stand up, protect, and assist those who are burdened by the cloak of oppression. Our brothers and sisters may be fighting back the only way they know how and it could be our stand against the injustice that sends forth a ripple of hope and change. Be hot and bothered but let that fire drive you to act. Let’s walk as Jesus walked.
Bible Texts that Support Social Justice:
- Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. Isaiah 1:17
- Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:9
- He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
- Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. ... Luke 10:30-37
- What range of emotions are you experiencing as a result of the shootings that have taken place over the past week?
- Many have responded in anger and violence. What might be some of the causes of such a response?
- How has the media shaped perceptions of racism in America?
- How might you be an advocate and/or an instrument for change?
- What Bible verses serve to support you during these times of difficulty?