There is a reluctance on the part of some white Christians to embrace the racial revolution for justice sweeping the world because of a phrase. The phrase is only three words but those three words seem so difficult and divisive for some. Black Lives Matter.
Why would anyone take issue with that phrase? You see it on social media all the time. The common response is, All Lives Matter. I know code when I see it. Truthfully, that is an effort to diminish or dismiss the Black Lives Matter movement.
White Christians need to acknowledge the history and hurt behind that phrase. It starts in slavery and continues across the years in the countless acts of discrimination and hatred that African- Americans have endured.
If you are not aware of some of those actions, research the Tuskegee Syphillis Trial as a beginning point. When you get the chance, go visit the The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, in Montgomery, Alabama. This memorial is dedicated to the legacy of people terrorized by lynching.
To acknowledge the value of others does not diminish your own worth. All of us are made in the image of God and we each have value and worth.
When you say, all lives matter, you are correct. All lives do matter. Yet, to use that phrase to diminish the value of our African-American brothers and sisters is not only an insult but also an effort to dismiss the call for racial justice.
Maybe the most important thing any of us can do is to have an honest and humble conversation with our African-American friends. Listen to the stories and experiences they have endured. Pay attention to your own biases and fears that are rooted in racism.
If one of my grandchildren came to me and asked, “Papa, does my life matter?” I would not respond by dismissing the question. Instead, I would assure them that their life is valued and important. Then I would want to know what had been said or done that caused them to feel that way.
When someone in your family has suffered so much that their self-worth and value as a human being has been challenged, you stand with them and reassure them of their worth. You do not minimize their pain or value by telling them that all lives matter—you tell them that they are valued and irreplaceable. You reassure them that their life does matter.
Yes, Black Lives Matter. All of us are part of the same family. We are with you.