Christians today have a unique opportunity – one I fear we are squandering. A horrifying reality of people taking into their own hands the determination of whose life matters and whose life doesn’t now brings our country to the brink of implosion. Police overreach threatens legitimate police action. Hate group terrorism threatens legitimate citizen concerns. What is the answer and how do we, as Christians, respond? Whose life matters, anyway?
As Christ followers, we have the answer, the same answer we give to those considering abortion, to those contemplating suicide, and to those concerned about refugees and immigration: All lives matter to God, and therefore all lives matter to us. How we determine through discernment the best course of action in order to preserve life may be different in each situation, but even within those differences, the underlying foundation remains the backbone of every decision: All lives matter to God, and therefore all lives matter to us.
John 3:16 is perhaps the most well-known and most often quoted verse in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
2 Corinthians 5:15 says, “And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and raised again.”
1 Peter 3:18 is equally clear: “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just and the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”
Hebrews 2:1 makes its own case: “But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.”
And Genesis 1:27 explains why: “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (All emphases mine)
The Bible says Jesus died for all. That means Jesus died for all. You, me, him, and her. Them. Yes, even them. Kermit Gossnell. Members of ISIS. Celine Dion and that twerking kid. Gays and straights. Drug addicts and holier-than-thous. Blacks and whites, Asians and Hispanics. Stubborn Scots and the Fighting Irish (thank God). Jews and Gentiles, Samaritans and lepers. Us. All of us.
Not all will accept His blood sacrifice. Not all will go to heaven. But all will receive the opportunity (Romans 1:20) because all lives matter to God, and therefore all lives matter to us.
Humanity, however, has a unique way of swinging the pendulum of truth wildly from one far side to the other, and when that gold ball hanging from a thin gold post swings left, right is forgotten entirely. All lives matter to God, and therefore all lives matter to us. But neither in godly principle nor in God’s Word are we instructed or given the option of ignoring justice and the truth of the Gospel in the name of tolerance or acceptance. To consider such a thing is proof our view of God’s love is skewed at best. Neither we as Christians nor our law enforcement officers will or should handle everyone in the same manner, but instead as unique individuals in a unique situation (Proverbs 13:8&9; Romans 13:2-5).
What, then, is our job as Christians? To preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all, because all lives matter to God, and therefore all lives matter to us (Matt 28:19). What, then, is the Gospel? The true Gospel always begins with the bad news: All have sinned and the penalty of sin is death (Romans 3:23; 6:23). There’s that word again – all, and you’re part of all. Each one of us has fallen short of the mark, short of God’s glory, short of good, and none of us can redeem ourselves. Death is imminent and hell is reality…but for the grace of God! And herein lies the Good News: Christ died once for all…and you’re part of all.
And because all lives truly matter to us, we are to love people enough to speak the truth in love to them – the truth of God’s justice, mercy, grace, and sacrifice. The truth that all other lives matter, too, and that taking the lives of others because you’re angry or discriminated against or hurt is as unjust as the injustice enacted upon you. We are to stand against crime, stand against sin, stand against injustice in its various forms, but we are not to stand silent, for to do so is to squander the opportunity we as Christians are now given.
I am reminded of the tale of two salesman who ventured to Africa to find new business opportunities. They both sold shoes and, upon arriving at their destination, they each quickly formed an opinion. One man called his wife and sadly told her to book him a flight home immediately. “I can’t sell anything here,” he told her, “No one here wears shoes.” The second salesman called his wife, as well. Full of excitement he told her to get ready for an adventure. “I can sell to the whole country,” he exclaimed, “No one here wears shoes!”
We’ve all read the stories, heard the reports, and seen the news. We all know our friends’ opinions, the pundits’ opinions, and the president’s opinions. But the only opinion with which we need concern ourselves is God’s. Whose life matters, anyway? The value of every human life is infinite and sacred. All lives matter to God, and therefore all lives matter to us. Go buy up that opportunity.