I didn’t plan to revisit this topic. Sometimes discussing political matters feels like beating a dead horse, but I’m discovering that while some situations appear to be political, or perhaps are manipulated by politics, they are in essence a quality of life issue, a matter of relationship, and a practice of love. With that in mind, how can I not discuss a topic that brings so many questions. In fact, I’ve had so many people reach out to me concerning Black Lives Matter (BLM), that I feel it necessary to answer those questions. I just recently had a very kind email sincerely asking how I (a white, middle-aged, Christian woman) respond to BLM and still uphold my values and moral obligations. So, allow me to explain.
Do you recall how in scripture that when Jesus came He turned the religious world upside-down? Like, the Jewish, religious leaders had an absolute fit with His behavior. They couldn’t understand how a man who claimed to love God could hang out with sinners, tax collectors, or prostitutes. They couldn’t accept these teachings about eating flesh or drinking blood. Sure, He had His twelve (albeit, one would betray Him), but a large number of disciples/followers shrank back at the difficulty of His teachings. He brought this new covenant that people couldn’t quite understand, but when they did, it changed their life. Do you remember the Samaritan woman?
First, Samaritans didn’t interact with Jews. Jewish people considered themselves of a higher station than the Samaritans, but Jesus came to breakdown stereotypes and worldly systems. Second, let’s not forget this woman at the well was a big-time sinner. She not only had broken the code by being unlawfully divorced, but she was living out of wedlock with one man while still married to another. Dude! Why in the world would a man preaching salvation and forgiveness of sin decide to reveal Himself as the son of God to someone with five husbands?!
One thing I’ve discovered in my walk with the Lord is that we as humans get sidetracked a lot. We build our churches on a foundation other than the Cornerstone. What I mean by that is we have a tendency to place a lot of importance on the religious laws, and not so much on Jesus. He came to show us a new way, but over the course of 2,000 years or so, we have fallen back into old habits. Do you remember when the Holy Spirit spoke to Peter in a dream in Acts and told him not to make unclean what God had made clean? He was alluding to the Jewish law about forbidden meats, but this dream spoke to people rather than meat. It was an acceptance of Gentiles into the faith, but it also speaks to the New Covenant that brings us all grace through forgiveness of sin. It’s not to say that the law isn’t important (we need both), but to understand the law isn’t all there is. There is mercy, grace, and love. There is Jesus. And remember, He was known for shaking things up.
In the church today, much like the church of then, we assign much value to our laws. The Bible still stands as an instruction manual for Holy living, but as task-oriented humans, we can place too much of our focus on building the faith via the rules, and less focus on building the faith through the love of Christ. We bring people to salvation through fear of damnation, and less through the light of His love, which in turn will bring truth. In other words, we focus on “this is right, that is wrong, and that’s the bottom line.”
Here’s the problem Conservative Christianity sees with BLM. They see a website, a political organization, or a moral code. They see paragraphs that support non-Biblical values on a political website founded by another human with differing values. What they don’t see is the hurting hearts of their brothers and sisters of color. They don’t see the Samaritan woman at the well who needs living water, this hurting woman who wants to worship, but is held back by Jewish practices. Instead they see an adulterous, divorcee, who is living a life of sin openly and doesn’t even care! How dare she!
The thing is, the Samaritan woman isn’t even a prime example for this moment in our personal history. My friends of color have made no poor decisions that have left them marginalized. They were simply born into a station in life where many consider them unworthy of being equal (like the Samaritans). That isn’t right, and it isn’t something Jesus would support. His way was considered radical for the time, and I suppose that today when people choose to love like He showed us it is also too radical for the church.
I could come up with scripture all day showing why loving your neighbor as yourself is the way of Jesus, but religious opposers would come back with just as much scripture pointing to laws and sin that somehow couldn’t support the equal treatment of the black lives of fellow human beings. At the end of the day, for me, it’s not about a political organization, it’s about human life. It’s not about the moral values of a few people who created an organizational statement, but about the hundreds of black friends I speak with personally who are treated unjustly and left heartbroken and fearful. It’s about the people at my table, not the religious practices held above that.
For me, it comes down to those clothe bracelets people wore when I was in school that said W.W.J.D. (What Would Jesus Do). Daily I read the words of Jesus, and when I read those words and pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit, I am led to love my brothers and sisters. I am led to lead in love and allow His truth to shine the brightest through that. God knows my heart; so who exactly is it I fear misunderstanding my Christian values when I support BLM? Is it the lost? No, I don’t think so. They’re lost. It actually probably pushes them from Christianity if I don’t stand for injustice. Is it fellow believers who I worry will think I’ve given up the commandments of my God? But they don’t hold the key to my salvation. Also, don’t forget that everything you read isn’t true. In the end, the question really becomes, do I invite the tax collector to dinner? Do I walk out of my way to end up at the well the exact same time as an adulterous woman? Do I step outside of religious obligation to show love and invite the hurting to the table of my Lord who heals?
I have discovered that a lot of people will disagree with me, and that’s ok. I promise, there’s no need to send anymore angry emails. I’ve gotten the point. But because I have loving hearts who have asked, this is my answer. How do you stand by your Christian values while supporting the hurting (black lives)? You do it just like Jesus did. It’s no secret when you read the Gospels that Jesus held the lives of people above the book of the law. For Him, leading people to His Father was the goal, not ensuring they came to the table dirt-free. He let the Father take care of that. He did not allow the religious practices to keep Him from showing another that they were precious and worthwhile to the Father. He just didn’t.
I won’t claim I’m right and others are wrong. I can only speak for my heart, and I can only share what the Lord has spoke to my heart. I can only tell you to do what I have done. Study the Word, pray, and seek Spirit and truth on this matter. My words (or those from another blogger) shouldn’t determine your position. The opinion of your friends, the news, or your political beliefs shouldn’t drive your behavior towards others. In the end, you stand at the well, and you decide if you can give someone a drink who is thirsty. If all lives matter, then all lives matter. Despite politics, despite sin, despite agenda, despite moral obligation, and despite religion. Stop allowing BLM to be about politics for you. That’s what the media and the world would try and convince you it’s all about. Why can’t it just be about the love the statement (black lives matter) implies? If all lives matter, then why can’t black lives matter too?