I’ve had to confess and repent something lately.
Previously, whenever someone mentioned “black lives matter,” I’d be one of the first to come back with “all lives matter.” I didn’t get it.
Looking at one of the parable that Jesus taught, I’m starting to understand. Jesus left the 99 sheep to go looking for the one lost sheep, not because the lives of the 99 didn’t matter but because the life of the one was in danger.
Then I got to thinking about the Samaritan woman at the well.
She definitely understood how it was to be mistreated for her ethnicity. The animosity between Jews and Samaritans was everywhere and all the time. There was no getting away from it. The Jews hated the Samaritans and the Samaritans hated the Jews.
Also she was a women in a time when women were seen more as property and possessions than people. Her testimony in a court of law counted half of what a man’s did. Aside from her potential as a wife and mother, she had no value.
Yet here was this Jewish Rabbi who went out of His way to talk to this Samaritan woman in the hottest part of the day. He didn’t talk at her but to her and listened to her with the intent to understand and not to rebut.
Maybe I’m stepping out of line for saying this, but when I picture this conversation, I don’t hear Jesus saying to the women, “All Samaritan lives matter.”
Of course, they did.
But I imagine Jesus was saying to her, “Your individual life matters to me. You with all of your monumentally screwed up past and bad choices and shame and regret matter to me.”
Jesus looks at you in love at this moment and says to you, “Do you believe that your seemingly insignificant life matters to me? Do you believe that I see and care about you even now?”
Jesus said that His purpose was to seek and to save the lost. He didn’t mean people groups as much as He meant each and every person. He came to seek and to save you. He came to seek and to save me.
It’s one thing to know that God loves everybody in the whole wide world. He loves you because you fall under the category of everybody. But I wonder if you and I really grasp that God in Jesus has set His affections on you and me, not as part of a people group or nationality or race or socioeconomic class, but as individuals who bear the imago dei, the image of God.
Black lives matter. Every black life matters. You matter.