I don’t see color, all lives matter, and how we shortchange God and Neighbor

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Candles - all lives

Ugh!

Ya’ll, I didn’t want to go here, but my heart aches. And I know yours aches too because of all that seems to divide us. The answer, however, is not to deny difference. I promise you. It’s not the answer.

We shortchange God when we say we don’t see color because He is the One who made us different. In fact, God created a universe full of color. Blue skies and white foam.

Beach Scene

Green leaves and wildflowers of every persuasion.

Lone_Oak_and_Wildflowers_by_vvvfotoguy

Purple eggplant and red tomatoes don the dinner table, each with unique nutrients to bless us.

summer veggies

We acknowledge this variety and thank God for it, but what about the different faces seated at the table of our lives?

Behind each colorful face is a story, a history, a family and a country. Different colors of people provide an array of triumphs and struggles to be celebrated or lamented. God did this. He created the sun and the melanin that make us many shades. He made the continents from which we originate, each with its own topography, climate, culture, and customs. He entrusted the earth to sinners, residing in regions, each with its own history of slavery, oppression, liberty, and prosperity.

So we shortchange God when we claim we don’t see all this difference. We are yielding to a shallow view of His world and an immature belief about humanity. Let’s choose to see color since God is speaking so clearly in nature: “I see color. I created diversity.”

African children Dutch children

Korean ChildrenMexican children

Yes, I know what Dr. King said.

I am not talking about judging people because of their color. I am talking about appreciating people because of their color. A difference in color likely indicates a life and a lifestyle different from mine, but rich and flavorful like summer’s bounty. Some stories are sweet like Georgia peaches. Other stories are bitter like Brussel sprouts.

That’s why Black Lives Matter is important even though some find it hard to swallow. Christian friends, we have to eat our vegetables. There’s nothing sweet about injustice. If someone is trying to shed light on it, we need to walk into that light like Jesus would with boldness, compassion, and mercy. Pointing out that we all matter may be well intended, but it wounds our neighbors who are simply bringing sin into the light.

Consider the insights offered on Twitter by @MattMcGorry about the hurtful nature of All Lives Matter. He quotes an activist who said: “It’s like going to an AIDS walk and shouting “All Diseases Matter!”

Profound.

You can read all of McGorry’s statement here. In spite of his coarse choice of words, I agree with him. And I’m sure you agree that if your daughter asks you to join her in a breast cancer race, you’re not going to say, “I can’t do that because all cancers matter.”

Since we all know better than to say that we should narrate to our children what we know about the cancer of sin.

  • We can teach them to value voices seeking justice.
  • We need to discuss what it means to live in a broken world.
  • We need to watch the news with them and talk candidly about how people of every hue will do harm.

In short, we need to help our kids eat their spiritual vegetables.

  • It will enable them to see color and make friends from all walks of life.
  • It will enable them to read history with a redemptive and discerning lens.
  • It will build in them strong emotional muscles to defend and share the cause of Christ wisely with friends, and more importantly, with foes.

Yes, police lives matter. White lives matter. Unborn lives matter.I mean, really? Of course all lives matter.

But as McGorry points out, “You just can’t have a protest for “Make Everything in the World Better.” He reminds us that for a movement to have an impact, it must have a focus.

For Christians to have an impact, we must have a focus too. Jesus told us we need not look far, only to our neighbor. But if we don’t see our neighbor’s color, we may be missing out on a story we need to hear or a plight we need to defend.

No. Jesus never held a sign that read, Samaritan Lives Matter. He simply proved it by the way he listened, and he proved it by the way he loved.

Jesus: What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”Religious scholar: “The one who treated him kindly.”

Jesus: “Go and do the same.”Luke 10.36, 37

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