The Gospel and Race
Do black lives matter? Do blue lives matter? Does any of it matter anymore?
Jocelyn Jackson, the sister of slain Baton Rouge police officer Montrell Jackson, is asking exactly that as she’s quoted in the Washington Post, “It’s coming to the point where no lives matter”. That’s the issue.
We live in a society that has devalued life before it even gets a chance to breathe. According to the CDC (the Center for Disease Control), there were 699,202 abortions reported in 2012. Six hundred ninety-nine thousand two hundred and two. And that only accounts for the numbers reported. Abortions are performed regardless of the underlying reasons. Life just doesn’t matter.
Because the importance and sanctity of life has been decimated from the first breath, we now have to put qualifications on lives for them to matter. That’s why we have movements like Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter. It’s simply not enough to say that life itself is precious and matters tremendously.
What does the bible say about this?
The bible says that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). God put his creative stamp on every one of us when he intricately wove us together before we took our first breath (Psalm 139:13). Though we have sinned and rebelled against God, we still bear His image and His likeness.
As God’s image bearers, humans are more valuable to Him than any other part of his creation. Jesus said it this way, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26). No – we’re not just another animal. No – we’re not equal partners with animals in the ‘circle of life’. The poorest child whose name the world will never know living in the most remote jungle, is more valuable than the most exotic endangered species, Mount Everest, and the Milky Way galaxy combined. God values us.
The gospel – not a new hashtag, not a new set of laws – is our only hope. Jesus lived the life we could never live in a million attempts (Matthew 5:17; 1 Peter 2:22). Jesus bore the sin of everyone who would believe in Him on the cross (Isaiah 53:5, 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus rose again and demolished sin and death (1 Corinthians 15). As we live on this earth, the Holy Spirit reminds us of the truths Jesus taught and our great need for Him while being convicted of our sins (John 16:8). When Jesus died for sins, he died for the sin of racism too. Only at the cross can racism die.
Some say that we must explicitly state that Black Lives Matter or White Lives Matter to acknowledge and not dismiss race and racial issues. But making race, social status, gender, occupation, or anything other than the gospel, the number one issue will fail. Does Galatians 3:28 dismiss race when it says “There is neither Jew nor Greek…for you are all one in Christ Jesus”? No. What it says is that there is a blood-bought family that transcends race. That’s why we should all confess the dark parts of our hearts to God and to others, and hope and pray for the day when there will be a “…great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…” (Revelation 7:9).