I tend to sit back and watch the explosions of anger around me, not jumping in quickly to make my point, but rather taking time to pray and reflect on what might be God’s heart for an issue. It’s often easier to remain silent, not to poke the bear, or risk coming off the wrong way. But then sometimes you just have to speak what’s on your heart. Like now.
I watch the world around me and I see something about the people in it. They’ve always been that way, but lately it seems to be a lot worse. Everyone has lots of feelings and they’re not afraid to use them. When I watch most interactions and especially loud voices in this world I see selfishness. Just being honest. I see it in the customers I serve owning a small business, and I see it with the patient population I serve as a nurse. We’re a society that says “my needs are most important.” We’re very quick to say “this is what you’ve done to me, I’m hurting, and I want retribution.”
Look, I won’t try in this post to fully be able to empathize with the plight of others. I can try, but in the end I haven’t walked in someone else’s shoes. Sure I’ve been dirt poor and reliant on government assistance. I’ve been judged wrongly for the color of my skin and where I was raised. I’ve been told I was a racist simply because I’m a Southern, white woman, and not due to any action or word from my mouth. But that’s not what this is about. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. To say I have experienced trouble or inequality would make me no better than what bothers me the most. It’s not about me, but it’s also not about you.
It isn’t Black Lives Matter. It’s not White Lives Matter. It’s not even Blue Lives Matter. It’s actually that we all think so highly of ourselves that we ALL want to matter, when in actually we don’t. Christ Matters, and that should be the driving force of every interaction we have on a day to day basis. I personally want to count it all as loss. Maybe try harder to lead folks to the cross.
What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.
Here’s what I’m not saying. I’m not trying to lessen what the African American community has been through. I have spoken very humbly on this matter before, and I am completely willing to admit there’s such a thing as White Privilege. I will also humbly and sincerely apologize for heinous crimes I didn’t personally commit, but that my ancestors did. But I want you to understand why I apologize. I say I’m sorry because I know it grieves the Lord, and I know history wasn’t something He was in favor of befalling His people, but here’s the problem. We’re not getting any better.
We’re ALL being selfish in one way or another, and in our wrath (and I rightfully call it wrath from things I’ve read and seen) we lose sight of Jesus while we spew our anger. It becomes about us versus them, when in all reality it should just be about Him.
We make Jesus less and we make ourselves more. We justify our hate with pointed fingers, as if someone else’s wrong action somehow makes ours right. We shout and shout to make our own voices heard, and we miss the fact that our actions are quite absurd. We put our personal cause on a pedestal leaving no room for the cross, and we chant “make it right” without ever admitting that we are ALL wrong.
So here’s what happens when we let our selfish, sinful natures take the driver’s seat. We don’t see clearly, we only see through a veil of rage. It’s not about bad cops, good cops, or if someone deserved to be shot. I mean, it is, and I’m not trying to downplay the very real problems this country has, but it’s also not. It’s actually about the fact that none of us deserve saving, no, not one. I don’t care what the color of your skin is or if you’re holding a gun. We all deserve death, yet Jesus came for us ALL. When we forget that it grieves His heart.
When we decide that our own agenda trumps it all we are wrong. When we let anger become fueled by the devil to separate God’s house we are fools. When we speak hate and selfishly shout “how are you gonna make this right” I just can’t help but see Jesus, with His arms stretched out wide, sadly whisper, “I have.”
He must increase, but I must decrease.
Here’s my take, for whatever it is worth. I think we need to stop focusing on whose life matters and start focusing on the only single life that ever mattered. It was a life that came to earth sinless, yet died for us all. And when we scream loudly how much WE matter, perhaps our actions are suggesting He does not. Because when we place so much focus on how we have been wronged, and even more on how someone else needs to make it right, we tear apart relationships that Christ died to bring together. If that’s what “mattering” does then I want no part of it.
I think instead I’ll carry my cross, and perhaps I’ll show the love of Jesus to those I meet along the way. After all, isn’t that what we’re here for? We’re not here to be right, be vindicated, or even be equal (although that would sure be nice). No, we’re actually here to lead folks to Jesus, and so far I’m seeing us foul that up something fierce.
That’s what bothers me most.