Once again, I’m stunned at the video footage that confronts all of us:

BLACK LIVES MATTER

  • 49 patrons of an Orlando dance club are brutally slaughtered by a man who apparently hates gays, non-Muslims or both
  • A black man in Louisiana shot twice in the chest as he’s wrestled to the ground by two officers
  • A black man in Minnesota is shot four times after getting pulled over by an officer for a broken taillight, as his wife and 4 year-old daughter watch in horror
  • A protest in Minneapolis turns into a virtual riot as firecrackers, Molotov Cocktails and bricks are thrown at police, who then respond with smoke and tear-gas. Dozens on both sides are injured
  • A peaceful protest in Dallas, in response to these shootings, turns into a sniper attack where a black man kills five police officers and wounds several others

The development of live video footage anywhere at anytime has exposed us to shocking injustice as well as outright evil. Many of us experience the disorientation and overload of being exposed to more violence, mistreatment and bloodshed than our senses and thought processes were designed to manage.

Meanwhile extreme voices on either end of the political spectrum take advantage of the horror to press their own predictable agendas.

Groups like Black Lives Matter, whose name and motto I fully agree with, seem too often to become violent and abusive in how they express their anguish. Sometimes it sounds like: Black lives matter more than yours. No, they don’t matter more: but they DO matter more than the prejudiced treatment they’ve lived under for centuries. I think we can agree on this, even though we may disagree with how it’s communicated.

Those espousing that Blue Lives Matter, whose name and motto I fully agree with, seem too often to ignore the demeaning, soul-crushing reality of what it feels like, as a black man or woman, to live in a society where you are constantly suspect, feared, over-looked or attacked. But, folks, where would we be without the courageously self-sacrificial service the great majority of police provide their neighbors? Utter anarchy.

Where do we land? For starters, though it sounds ridiculously simplistic to say it, we need to live with the unalterable conviction that All Lives Matter. Regardless of ethnicity, race or gender, the truth is that we have all been made in the image of God. (Gen. 1:27) That matters, or at least it should. You have never looked into the eyes of a person who God does not love with all his heart.

We also need to live with the unalterable conviction that every one of us, regardless of race, gender, demographic, addiction or sexual lifestyle choice, is deeply wounded. The Creator designed every one of us with deep longings for love, significance, security and joy. All of those were lost as a consequence of sin, pride and, ultimately, through self-centered separation from God.

As a result, all of us live with deep loss, brokenness and longing. We try to fill those longings with a wide variety of selfish behavior that still leaves us thirsty…until we discover the true Source of living water. (Jer. 2:13) And even then we all still have the capacity to live selfishly.

To me, this means we live with the unalterable conviction that, while the outward evidence and consequences of our self-centered choices may vary widely, every one of us has the capacity for prejudice, anger, pride, addictive behavior, destructive pursuit of pleasure and self-protection.

I’m not invulnerable to these; neither are you; neither are those whose lives are very different from yours. We’re all broken. We’re all longing for what our hearts were designed for, and then, was lost when mankind’s relationship with God was broken.

So how do we respond?

hug2

  • We live in humility. We recognize that deep inside we are all broken.
  • We work to understand others. We all long for the transcendent relationship with God we were built for; we pursue different wounded paths.
  • We forgive graciously. Because we have been forgiven so much.
  • We speak with conviction. To remain silent in the face of sin or injustice we disagree with, is to allow it to continue.
  • We act courageously. Action almost always requires courage.
  • We love extravagantly. One of the most powerful stories Jesus told, commonly known as the Prodigal Son, is really about the Extravagantly Loving Father. Even as that son was rebellious and self-absorbed, his father watched the horizon for him every day. Our Father does the same: watching, waiting, embracing and forgiving every child who comes to him. We should reflect that same love.

Because all lives matter.

19 Comments

  1. Craig,

    Well said. Thank you.

  2. Great post, Craig. Thank you so much for addressing these hardship issues and events.

    • * hard issues

    • They ARE hard aren’t they, Leigh. Seems like we should be beyond this by now, but the faultlines in our culture, and in our hearts, keep revealing themselves.

  3. Spot on Craig! Thanks for the reminder as to how we are to intentionally & consciously live as Christ-pursuing people ☝

  4. Good words, Craig. Good and true and needed. Thanks.

    • That should be “Burtoft” 🙂

  5. Well stated Craig! Your thoughtful reflections resound the truth, glory and grace of the gospel message. May our land be healed and our people restored to a vision , otherwise we perish and perish within. My your words reach many!

    • Thank you, Ken. Your last sentences express my thoughts, too: May God use these recent incidents in a redemptive way to bring about genuine healing and transformation. Can our political structures do it? Doubtful. Can He redeem? I believe He can.

  6. Well said Craig, I am a Christian cop’s kid and saw how my dear dad sought to win fellow policeman to Jesus and gang kids also. He was captain of the bloodiest gang warfare part of the U. S.in the late 50’s—Spanish Harlem. There is a 40 sec. clip expressing his telling anyone concerned that knowing Jesus personally is the final answer to our sinful world and especially directed to the juvenile delinquency problem he faced daily.The clip can be seen on the internet under the name Conrad Jensen. Dad had the joy of leading nos. of policeman to Jesus and the crime rate among gang kids drop dramatically because many came to Christ also.

    • James, SO good to hear from you, and to hear of a man who used his position for redemptive impact on his fellow officers and in the community. You must be proud.

  7. Thank you for your Godly and sage reflections

    • Thank you, Donnell. I LOVE you, brother!

  8. Thanks Craig…. Many years ago at a retreat you inspired me to continue my process of reconciliation. The conversation with the Chicago fireman helped that process. All lives do matter! Well said my friend. By the way Donnell Digby was one of those men who helped through conversation to help me grow.

    • I remember it well, Del. Donnell has been a great help to me, too.

  9. Well said bro! You were part of my story for reconciliation when we went on a retreat with two fireman from Chicago ( one I believe was Donnell) had great conversation and open talk! Thanks for always providing insight to grow in!

  10. Thanks Craig, I appreciate you and the ministry that God has blessed you with to communicate His grace, truth, and duty to men of every color.
    Grace and peace Brother, bg,
    Isaiah 26:3-4
    3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
    4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
    (ESV)

    • Thanks for your comments and encouragement, Bob.

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