Christians across the United States are starting to stand up with the Black Lives Matter movement. Churches are creating buttons for their congregations to wear and putting out information on how to support the Black community. Many of these denominations and people are liberal in their thinking, leaving it tricky for the conservative and evangelical groups to figure out how to respond. Would Jesus support Black Lives Matter? Here is what the Bible has to say.
What is the Black Lives Matter movement?
Over the years, Black Lives Matter has grown from a small grassroots organization to a country-wide movement. It began as a call to action in response to state-sanctioned violence and anti-Black racism. Police brutality against Black communities needed to be addressed. The intentions of the group are to "connect Black people from all over the world who have a shared desire for justice to act together in their communities". They are dedicated to healing each other and creating a culture where all people are seen, heard, and supported. The movement seeks to find justice and liberation. It is quiet often assumed that the Black Lives Matter group is anti-white or against unity, but that is untrue. Black Lives Matter wants Black people to have equal opportunities as their white counterparts, not more.
What does the Bible say?
It is my belief that Jesus would support the Black Lives Matter movement fully. Our faith teaches us that each person is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Being created in God’s image, each of us has intrinsic worth and value. As Christians, this verse demands that we listen to Black people when they speak, sympathize with them when they hurt, and sacrifice for them when presented with the opportunity. Bearing the image of our Creator, the Black community demands respect and honor. We are taught to "love your neighbor as yourself" and "do unto others as you would have them unto you". Christians should embrace the God-ordained truth that Black lives matter.
In the state of our current society, Black lives are being systemically devalued. In recent years, it has been found that young Black males were 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than their white counterparts. Additionally, Black women in crisis are more likely to be met with deadly force. This is causing justifiable outrage and forces our attention to Black Lives Matter. Our Black brothers and sisters are in trouble and need our support.
The Bible wholeheartedly stands up against racism and racist systems. Leviticus 19:34 states “the stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord Your God.” Furthermore, Christ came down to earth to break down the walls between people, not to build them up (Ephesians 2:14). The systems we have in place that unjustly put the Black communities down are a sin against God.
Doesn't Jesus care for all lives?
Isn't it true though, that Jesus died for us all? Yes, it is! However, again, not all lives are currently being treated equally. There are major discrepancies within our criminal justice system. We cannot respond with "All Lives Matter” because it fails to acknowledge the pressing social reality that generated the movement to begin with.
A good example going around is the one of the burning houses on a neighborhood street. When one house is burning down, we focus on making sure that house is taken care of. We do not throw water on the other houses, because they are not in harm’s way. All those other houses matter as well, however the burning house is what needs the most focus. Jesus said in Matthew 9:12, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick”.
In Luke 4:16-19, Jesus proclaimed the good news to the poor, released the jailed, gave sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed. He did not mention those that already had sight, the rich, or those who were free. While all those other lives mattered to Jesus, He acknowledged that there were lives that needed His assistance. Jesus loved those that were oppressed publicly and proudly, as we should today. Psalm 118:19 says "Open the gates of justice! I will enter and tell the Lord how thankful I am."
The Black communities need the Christian community to rally behind them and offer support. Through signing petitions, donating, education, and more we can help end racism in our country for good. God loves His children and wants to ensure everyone has equal opportunities on earth. As Christians, its time we look inward on ourselves to see what failures we have done to live out the gospel for the Black community so we can become better allies.