( This is a post I wrote in December of 2014 )
*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?