George A. Bowers Sr.: Let’s love and value all each human being
One year ago this month, rioting and violence erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, over the death of a young black man by a white police officer. In the weeks that followed, our televisions were lit up with the fires and the protests that overtook the besieged city. Over time, the forensic evidence indicated that the policeman acted within expected parameters since his assailant had assaulted him and intended to do him further harm.
One of the mantras that evolved from these agonizing events was, “Black Lives Matter.” And I couldn’t agree more. Black lives do matter. Every single one of them matters. Each black person has been created in the image of God and is uniquely special to him, and as such, should be special to every other human being as well.
By the same token, red, yellow, brown, and white lives matter too. In short, all human lives matter to almighty God and should matter to us. Some of the harshest penalties in history have been rightfully meted out for taking the lives of other human beings. Wounds can heal, property can be replaced, but once a death occurs, life will not return until Jesus comes. Human life is precious and once it is gone, it’s gone.
This value of human life used to be a foundational value of American society. Most all Americans, regardless of background, skin color, socioeconomic class, religion, or political preference valued human life. Unfortunately, there have been times when we ignored this important principle and overlooked or even advocated the killing of those with red or black skin. It has also been sadly ignored by many criminals who have indiscriminately taken the lives of other humans as they robbed, raped, or terrorized.
But instead of dividing over skin color, why can we not unite? Why can’t blacks, whites, reds and yellows proclaim together that “all lives matter?” Young blacks and young whites. White police officers and black deputies. Black church members in Charleston and white atheists in New York City. Democrats and Republicans. Tea partiers and Libertarians. Rich white women and poor black children. Wealthy black businessmen and poor Hispanics immigrants. The demented elderly and the helpless unborn. Heterosexuals and homosexuals. Drug lords and corporate Boards.
Saying someone’s life matters does not mean that we agree with his or her decisions nor that we support their lifestyles, but we must appreciate and value their lives as God’s image-bearers. Whenever one group is singled out for protection, all others suffer as did Gypsies, blacks, Jews and all other non-Aryans in Hitler’s Germany. We should be especially sensitive to those who have been hurt by past injustices, but we must not overcorrect by running off the road on the other side. That error always results in future atrocities.
Because all lives matter to God, all lives ought to especially matter to those who claim to follow Jesus. If the Bible is true, and I believe it is, we are all one race by creation descended from Adam and Eve. Politicians, census takers, and activists all try to divide us against each other, but we must reclaim the unity we have, and we must proclaim the greater unity God desires for us through his son Jesus. He issued his non-discrimination policy long ago when he said through Paul in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Before God, all of us are equally lost in our sin and waywardness. But we all can equally be saved through the precious blood of Jesus. “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” not just those of a certain skin color or nationality. But all must come through Jesus. All must repent and turn from sin and all must ask God to forgive them through the blood of the one who was most likely not black, red, or white, but very probably mid-brown. His sacrificial death on the cross demonstrated once and for all God’s opinion on the issue: “All lives matter.” Since they matter to him, they should matter to us as well. Let’s love and value each human being.