Why #BlackLivesMatter Makes You Uncomfortable
*note: image above – harassment during a civil rights sit-in at the Cherrydale Drug Fair in Arlington, VA June 10, 1960.
On Sunday at NWLife Church, we stood in solidarity with our brothers and sisters – declaring #BlackLivesMatter.
We prayed for justice and reconciliation and healing and comfort. We mourned the loss of life. We affirmed that all black lives matter.
This wasn’t the first time we’ve prayed for the black community. Recognizing #BlackLivesMatter on Sunday, December 14 was done at the prompting of the National leadership of the Assemblies of God and the Church of God in Christ (our heritage is with these movements).
I know this makes some folks uncomfortable. I know because I have received feedback. Of course, I don’t have the oratory chops of Bishop T.D. Jakes, and I’m sure I fouled-up, stumbled over my words, editorialized, and could have done a better job of leading the church in prayer.
But I can’t take all the blame for making you feel uncomfortable. There’s another reason…
Why do people bristle at #BlackLivesMatter and insist that it should be #AllLivesMatter?
It has to do with being specific instead of speaking in generalities. Have you ever noticed how it’s much easier to say “Love you guys!” than “I love you.” Saying “Love you guys!” is easy because it’s safe, innocuous… a sweeping generalization that doesn’t actually mean anything. But saying, “I love you” is targeted, specific, and has a clear meaning.
Do #AllLivesMatter? That’s a feel-good, generalized statement… but until everyone agrees that #BlackLivesMatter, it’s just a bunch of B.S.
When the Father ran after the prodigal son and embraced him, he was sending a clear message: #ProdigalLivesMatter. The robe, the ring, the sandals, and the huge party given all said the same thing: #ProdigalLivesMatter. The older brother did not like this at all. He pouted. He refused to participate. He wanted to change the hashtag to #AllLivesMatter.
To the older son, the Father said, “We had to celebrate this day.” It’s almost as if the Father was saying, “You’re missing the point, son. Of course #AllLivesMatter. But today, we’re celebrating #ProdigalLivesMatter.”
God isn’t colorblind and He isn’t asking us to pretend we are either.
The great picture of Heaven is that “A vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language” will worship at His throne TOGETHER.
Yes, God sees color—and He loves what He sees.
The question is, will we love too?
RELATED: “Longing For A More Colorful Table (Not A Colorblind One)”
8 Comments to Why #BlackLivesMatter Makes You Uncomfortable
I think there are a lot of great, sincere, Christian men and women that didn’t realize they harbored fears or other negative feelings that are causing them to be put off by the “black lives matter” movement. But we are being confronted by race issues and need to think about it and act in a grace-filled, generous manner that fights for the same peace and justice that we seek for our own loved ones. It’s uncomfortable and might mean some not-so-pretty truths about our inner thoughts, but as we know, it’s never too late for God to change our hearts.
I can’t stand it when people say they don’t see Color!
The Church needs to learn to celebrate our differences as people..doing
that doesn’t move away from equality!
Time to stand with the marginalized!
Brian, thank you for an important post. For those who don’t understand why black lives matter, I suggest they watch any episode of Finding Your Roots when Dr. Henry Gates traces the ancestry of African Americans. (https://www.facebook.com/FindingYourRootsPBS?fref=nf) Ancestors who were enslaved are pretty much impossible to trace because they did not have names. They were considered property and were listed by color, age, gender and price. No identity! Just a price tag. An entire race of people has emerged from this cruelty and they must receive equal treatment – in every way. While there are many other vulnerable groups of people who also deserve our respect and support, the painful history and continued mistreatment of many of our brothers and sisters of color requires that we keep saying Black Lives Matter!
I really appreciate you addressing this. I think the other reason it bothers people is because of the same discontent of the older brother in the story of the prodigal – we fear there won’t be enough love, resources, attention, etc to go around. Of course that’s silly when you consider things through the lens of God’s provision and depth of love.
When it’s said “black lives matter” and we jump in to say, “how about White lives and Asian lives and Mexican lives…” we’re being petty at best. It’s like when someone shares a problem and the listener highjacks their moment with their one-upping sob story. It’s not showing Jesus’ love and care to downplay one person or groups emergency/need by basically saying, “you don’t get a turn” or “quit feeling sorry for yourself” and then tell them to figure it out – alone. It’s not a biblical idea anyway, to strike out on your own and do things your way and for yourself and only help those that have “earned” or “deserve” it.
Bottom line, there is nothing about Jesus’ message or example that would support an attitude against “black lives matter”. We need to stop being so fearful. Showing love, support and solidarity with the black community does not equal disrespect for other groups or flouting the law.