It seems we’re all picking colors these days. Colors of skin or occupations or sexual identities. Everything seems to have a color, and everyone is fighting for theirs. Blue lives matter. Black lives matter. Rainbow lives matter.
But the bottom line is that LIFE MATTERS. Every life matters.
When we forget this, we fight the wrong fight, start the wrong conversations, and trumpet the wrong horns. We start asking if the life pinned to the ground is more or less valuable than the life in uniform. We ask if the life in the night club is more or less valuable than the lives tucked in the beds of our home. We tell ourselves that the meth addict that just lost custody of her kids is less valuable than the stay at home mom that takes hers to church every week.
We do this because at the very core, we have forgotten the cause of our value.
Our lives are not valuable because of our color.
Our lives are not valuable because of our occupation.
Our lives are not valuable because of our sexual orientation, education, occupation, behavior, or economic status. We are not valuable because we have conquered our addictions or less valuable because we haven’t. We are not more valuable for finishing high school than for dropping out. We are not more valuable because we volunteer with disabled kids than if we caused a child’s disability.
We are valuable because we are human, and humans were created by God in His very image. We are valuable because we are loved by our Creator. In fact, He loved us so much that He shed His blood for us. He took the punishment for all of our misbehavior, addictions, and poor choices. He paid our debt in full.
This is the gospel.
It is the gospel that is claimed by Christians everywhere.
…and yet, somehow…. we keep slipping back into this mentality that behavior, choices, or ancestry can make a life worth more or less….that Jesus paid our eternal debt, but we determine our own value.
Most of us don’t ever think about killing someone. But we stamp value on people every day. We make judgement calls on what others deserve based on how well their behavior or social status pleases us….and we can only do that because we believe that our own behavior and social status is of good standing.
War hero? Awesome! “Thank you for your service.” Homeless man? Despicable. “Get a job!” Cancer survivor? Let’s celebrate! Drunk driver? Throw away the key!
We may never point a gun, but we kill spirits. We cause internal soul-death…death of dreams, hope, and purpose.
It is only when we truly understand the gospel, that we can value every life….and when we value every life, we are willing and able to speak life into every single one. We can look past the behavior. We can look past the race or religion or sexuality (or anything else) that for whatever reason in our jaded past has made us uncomfortable, and we see what God sees: a priceless creation in His image with inestimable value.
Murder always starts with a thought….the thought that it is possible for a life to have no value. Injustice sneaks in with the thought that the value of life can sit on a sliding scale.
When we can eliminate that line of thinking, we will change the world.
I think Jesus knew that.
Perhaps that is why He gives this warning in Matthew 5:21-22:
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire” (ESV).
Anger. Insults. Name calling…..these are the things that lead to hellish behavior and hellish consequences. I guarantee you, most of us are guilty of these.
Does life matter to you? Do all lives matter to you? Do you find yourself ranking the value of those in the news or in their pajamas at Wal-Mart? I do – and it’s not okay.
Human value comes from the Creator. Our worth cannot even be defined. Like it or not, we are all in the same boat. No one is more or less valuable than any other, no matter their behavior, color, or status in life.
If we forget that, we have forgotten the gospel. If we forget the gospel, we think we could actually achieve more value on our own. If we think we can achieve more value, we believe we can determine the value of others…and maybe even determine their fate.
So while everyone else is picking colors, maybe we should simply preach the gospel to ourselves and speak life into others….maybe even the meth addict that just lost her kids.
All lives matter.