Living with the results of other people’s thinking is why something like #BlackLivesMatter even has to be stated. But we can change the results for others. Our thinking can be elevated; our compassion deepened. Those past results don’t deserve our blind allegiance.
I keep going back to these core things:
Every person was made in the image of God (regardless if they know it or believe it).
I am commanded to love my neighbor as myself (whether my neighbor looks, sounds or believes like me).
Jesus tells the story of “the Good Samaritan” following a discussion on the most important commandment. A man asks Jesus to clarify, “And who is my neighbor?” Maybe it seems innocuous enough… but I get the feeling it was a means of qualifying who counted — as a way of escaping a blanketed responsibility to everyone.
Jesus begins to tell a story with equanimity:
A Jewish man is attacked & left for dead.
A priest comes along to find the man lying there, but crosses to the other side of the road.
A Levite does the same. Sees the man, but does nothing. In fact, goes out of his way to do nothing.
Then, a Samaritan, despised in those days for being a “half breed”, comes along. He was certainly not the expected one to come to a Jew’s aid, if you think about Jesus’ audience.
Regardless, Jesus shares of the Samaritan soothing and bandaging the Jewish man’s wounds. He then put him on his donkey, took him to an inn & continued to look after him. The next day, he gave the innkeeper money (2 full days worth of wages) to continue to care for the man. He also instructs he will pay the difference, if indeed it takes more than that to care for the man, upon his return.
As we look at today’s social climate, who is your neighbor?
Who is hurting?
Who is voiceless?
Who is defenseless?
A 12 year old kid shot & killed within 2 seconds of police arriving on the scene seems pretty defenseless. 13 women being sexually assaulted by a police officer felt voiceless. Refugees fleeing their country to get away from terrorism & imminent danger are hurting. And yet, local governments are moving all around the country to block their access. Prosecutors and grand juries aren’t holding officers accountable for murder & mistreatment of Black lives all over the country.
It’s not that Black Lives Matter MORE THAN any other lives. It’s not that sexual assault victims matter more based on who their assailant is. It’s not that Syrian refugees demand more help than our own displaced veterans, homeless, etc. But they are humans, just like us, and they deserve the right to LIVE.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be known as the one who had mercy, the one who helped… no matter the cost or discomfort it may come with in the process. I don’t want to fear friends getting pulled over by the wrong cop. I don’t want to worry that someone will play vigilante & follow them with a gun because they have a hood on.
We may be living with the results of other people’s thinking… but I’ll be damned if I don’t try to change it for today & the coming generations.
If we are really charged with loving our neighbor as one of the GREATEST commandments, we have a LOT of work to do.