Right now we’re seeing and hearing a lot of “Black lives matter.” Absolutely!
There’s also a lot of pushback…”All lives matter.” Also, absolutely!
But right now, in our country, it’s clear that all lives don’t matter.
Those of us who are white have not yet been willing to come to grips with how institutional racism has impacted economic equality…housing possibilities…access to health care…relationships with police…and a myriad of other daily activities for people of color.
Saying “Black lives matter” doesn’t mean that others don’t. It simply means that we need to put a focus on the concerns and issues that black people face every day. When those issues are truly addressed, then we can move on to other issues…including other people whose lives are still seen as “less than”…
Many of you know that I am a follower of Jesus. Why am I saying that now? Because Jesus’ ministry made some very specific points. He often went out of his way to meet with and minister to the marginalized, the oppressed, those not generally accepted by the society he was part of.
- When he met the Samaritan woman at the well, he told her that “Samaritan lives matter.”
- When the disciples tried to tell parents not to bother Jesus with their children, he said, “Children’s lives matter.”
- When a Roman officer asked Jesus for help for his servant, Jesus said, “Gentile lives matter.”
- When he was confronted by a woman taken in adultery, Jesus said, “Women’s lives matter.”
- When lepers asked him for healing, he said, “Lepers’ lives matter.”
Our world is complex and solutions are not going to be easy. But we have to face those challenges and not rely on easy platitudes.
It’s only when we recognize that the lives of specific groups of people who have been marginalized and oppressed matter that we can then legitimately and honestly say “All lives matter.”