There is something truly dangerous that arises when people draw lines between one another. Blue vs. red party, male vs. female, vanilla vs. chocolate, SEC vs. BIG12, and white vs. color. While some of these are meant to lighten my point, I know that you can pick out moments of history where these separations have drawn attention.
I believe that we’re living in one of those moments now. And I believe it’s important to talk about it.
First, I want to apologize. I’m sorry that our ancestors drew those first racial lines and that they instilled those same rotten values down to the generations alive today. There is no excuse for their actions and I won’t attempt to explain it away because I don’t think that’s even possible.
Second, I think we (white people) need a hard lesson in pride. As the protests began, I remember spending a couple of days thinking, “I haven’t hurt anyone. This isn’t against me.” And I realized that I’m part of the problem. I shouldn’t have spent time creating a defense as to why I’m not against people of color, but instead I should have stared their pain in the face. My first reaction should’ve been to meet their eyes, recognize their pain, and say, “I’m with you. Teach me.”
Why? Because that’s what I signed up for when I chose to follow Jesus.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
For God shows no partiality [favoritism]. (Romans 2:11)
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:33-34)
A new command I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34)
When you pray, what do you see? I like to imagine that I’m actually talking to Jesus, but when I see him he doesn’t look like me. He doesn’t even look like those light-skinned, angelic paintings that hung in the church you grew up in. My Jesus has a darker complexion, wild hair, and electric eyes. Being a carpenter, his labors produced rough hands, and his facial hair accentuates his smile. (He looks a lot like this.)
Do you know what makes us look differently? Melanin. It’s a skin pigment that is passed down through your genes, depending on where your family originated. A long, long time ago, humans around the equator, around coasts, and in dry, arid areas developed darker skin – a way for their body to protect themselves from the dangerous UV rays of the sun. (Source)
So, lines have been drawn between races according to what longitudinal lines they originated from. Once again, our problem is pride.
Now, I have many friends who are using their social platforms to argue between “All Lives Matter” and “Black Lives Matter”. It should go without saying, but the times assume otherwise: All lives do matter. (Don’t stop here!)
All lives do matter because Jesus said they matter. However, due to hushed events that have bottled inside every person of color for centuries, it is clear that all lives do not currently matter until we fight to secure the safety and right the wrongs committed against our friends of color. They need to know that we believe that black lives matter. And they do; they absolutely do. We are called to link arms with them and erase those lines we ignore.
Our church recently posted a scripture from Paul about being one body, but many parts. I believe that, in closing, this is the most important thing you should read:
There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink…1 Corinthians 12:12-13, 18-19, 21-23, 25-27
God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. If all parts were the same, how could there be a body?
The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor…
In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy.
You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.