Some Thoughts on Recent Happenings - #alllivesmatter
Over the past year we have heard story after story from the media about young black men who have lost their lives after encounters with law enforcement officials, who have been mostly white, in cities across America. As a black male who has a 21 year old son who lives in the inner-city, I must admit that this does concern me some. I'd be lying if I said that it did not.
Yet today my heart is saddened to hear about a young white male, Adam Ward, and a young white female, Alison Parker, who were killed in cold blood while videoing and reporting the news live this morning at the hands of a young black man, Vester Flanagan, who later took his own life. Let's not get focused on the minor issues like how the media is reporting this incident in comparison to when a black person is killed by a white person. Let's just sit in the fact that two people were killed. Three lives have been lost. We have grown so cold and have become so callous to death that we long to know the details more than weeping that people created in the image of God have tragically died.
Their lives were not more valuable than Travon Martin's, Michael Brown's, Eric Gardner's, Tamir Rice's, Samuel Dubose's, Sandra Bland's and all the others that we have heard reported on in the recent years. And neither are they any less important. We place different values on people's lives because of their race, their gender, their economic status, their age, their relationship to us and their role in society. Yet we all are created in the image of God and that gives us intrinsic value and there are none in his eyes that are more valuable than others.
So to those of us in the African American community does the news today sadden your heart? Or do we not care as much because those murdered were white? What word in #blacklivesmatter gets the emphasis? Black or lives? Is the color of a person's skin more important to us than the lives of people created in the image of God? Honestly, do we even really care about all black lives? What about the ones in the womb?
I say this with the utmost respect, knowing my own failures and sin, as the black community we can live in such hypocrisy. We shout it out loud that #blacklivesmatter when a young black man loses his life at the hand of a white law enforcement official. Yet we tell our wives, girlfriends, sexual partners, daughters, granddaughters and women in our church congregations to go to Planned Parenthood or some other abortion mill to take care of the 'inconvenience' of an unplanned or unintended pregnancy.
So in the same communities where we march in the streets and protest, we participate in the shedding of innocent blood (over 1,000 African American babies are killed in their mother's wombs every day in America, black women are 14% of the female population and have 30% of abortions). Abortion is the leading cause of death among African Americans (more than HIV-AIDS, violent crime, accidents, cancer, and heart disease combined).
Yet I do not see the protests, the public outrage, the marches, the lobbying of our politicians to demand that the killing of our smallest citizens must stop. We demand justice and applaud our political leaders when they take action to investigate the deaths of our young black men and at the same time are silent when our President and political leaders continue to support government funding of Planned Parenthood (79% of its surgical abortion facilities are located within walking distance of African American or Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods).
We have listened to the lie of the enemy and embraced a spirit of murder in the black community. We have, knowingly or unknowingly, participated in the murder of our own children and this has affected the way that we look at human life even outside the womb. More blacks are killed by blacks than by any other group. Sadly, we often do not have a public outrage or march for justice (at least not outside of the community where the killing happens) when blacks kill other blacks and far too many of our young women are encouraged to abort their children every day.
I do understand that slavery, Jim Crow and institutionalized racism in our society has affected African Americans in many unique ways (read article 'Does Secret Abortion Grief Silence African American Clergy and Politicians?'). Yet I do not believe that we'll get the change that we long for in our hearts by looking outside of our communities and placing the blame on the media, the police or the white supremacists.
Often times it starts with me realizing that I have sinned against God by not valuing life He created in His image and likeness. How many of us reading this has said #blacklivesmatter or #alllivesmatter and yet we have discarded human life by participating in an abortion or encouraging someone else to get one? I have and I know the pain, the loss, the shame, the guilt, the callousness towards human life that comes from such a decision. When we get honest with God and confess our sin His word says that He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).
We need to ask God to forgive our sin of not valuing human life and turn to His Son Jesus Christ - the One who died for our sins and rose from the dead to give us new life. Only when we know Him will we truly see all people as equally valuable because they are created by God in His image and likeness regardless of their race, gender or whether they are in the womb or a nursing home. The God who offers forgiveness for the grievous sins that we have committed against Him gives us the ability to forgive others as He has forgiven us.
Looking to politicians and civil rights leaders as we march and protest demanding justice is not the answer. Jesus Christ is the only one who can heal us and give us hope for our broken lives. Jesus Christ is the only one who can heal and give hope to our broken communities. Jesus Christ is the only one who can bring peace to our fractured world. Turn to him today and ask God to change you and use you to change the world around you.