the protesters/rioters have been capturing our attention as well as our streets, our places of business and our public and private spaces and places. But why? What is their message? Whatever it is, it has been hard to hear over all the noise, the disruption, the destruction, the defacing of public and private property, the chaos, the crime, the vandalism and the violence.
Spray painted amidst the graffiti are often the letters “BLM,” standing for black lives matter. Is this the message? It is an important one to be sure. I think it is a message everyone can identify with at its core. Don’t we all want to know, want to believe that we matter and to be treated as if we matter? That desire is part of our human condition, it is built into us – we want to know that we have value – we want acknowledgement that we matter.
But turns out, we are not very good at treating each other as if we matter. We don’t always treat others and others don’t always treat us in a way that shows respect, dignity and acknowledgement of the value that is inherit in each one of us.
Our country knows that each individual life matters. It is written into our Declaration of Independence that each life matters. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, . . . ” And there is the proof of the truth – the truth that we all matter – equally matter – to our Creator and to our country, according to the law. That’s what sets our country apart, no other country operates on this premise of everyone mattering, everyone having equal value, everyone having equal voice.
The ballot box is where our voice can count, where it can be heard. It is our great equalizer. The vote of the poor person counts the same as the vote of the wealthy person. The vote of the unknown counts the same as the vote of the well known. In the past, we have not lived out the law as it is written. The law does not need changing – we do. All men are created equal, all men must be treated equally, fairly, justly. It is time we lived up to the law. It is time we made “liberty and justice for all” a reality on our streets and in our courts.
“Black lives matter” won’t accomplish that, but “all lives matter” will. I don’t understand why we prioritize one life over another. But we seem to be doing just that very thing. In this culture we value fame and fortune, position and power, assigning more value to people with these attributes than to those who lack them.
We seem to constantly be prioritizing one life over another. The COVID-19 crisis has given us a new group of “lives that matter,” that being those who die from COVID-19. Of course those lost lives matter, just as the lives lost to cancer and to gun violence and to heart disease and to hunger and to sex trafficking . . . well the list is endless, but surely all these lives lost matter equally as well.
My grief isn’t less because my friend died of cancer rather than of COVID. Every life lost is worthy of grieving – because every life matters. Every life has value because we were created in God’s image. We are His image bearers in this world.
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
So black lives matter, blue lives matter, unborn lives matter, handicapped lives matter, elderly lives matter, poor lives matter – all lives matter. All lives matter to God, therefore all lives must matter to each one of us.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart form the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-30)
What a confirmation of the worth of each person to God! I love the image of God as our shepherd, as the One who cares for us and protects us and lays down His life for us, His flock.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:1-3)
I like the story in Matthew 18 about the shepherd who owns one hundred sheep. When even one of them is missing, he leaves the ninety-nine on the hillside and he goes in search of his missing sheep. When he finds his lost sheep, he rejoices greatly.
“In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.” (Matthew 18:14)
The shepherd isn’t satisfied with ninety-nine percent. Every life matters to him. In the same way, every life matters to our Heavenly Father, the Good Shepherd. In fact, each life matters so much to Him that He gave His own life to ensure that we would have life.
“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:11 & 10)
Every life matters to the Good Shepherd. ” . . . I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to My voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:15-16)
With my Heavenly Father, all lives matter. Galatians 3:26-28 explains it this way, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, . . . There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
God sees us all the same and loves us all equally, unconditionally, even lavishly.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
if this life is a dress rehearsal for heaven, we need to learn the lesson that all lives matter, that each life matters – because we are all created in God’s image and are precious in His sight.
eternity will contain the diversity of earth but in heaven it will be cause for celebration not cause for division
“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9)
every, all inclusive, each life mattering because all lives matter
sincerely, Grace Day