"…to the praise of the glory of His grace…" Ephesians 1:6

Some Thoughts on Black Lives Matter

Dear Springs of Grace Church Family,
I wanted to write a few brief words to you about Black Lives Matter that come from my own personal thoughts and prayers. There seems to be some attempt to lump every negative thing about the organization “Black Lives Matter” onto every person who expresses the biblical sentiment that black lives matter. In fact, people who are extremely kind and gracious over so many things, seem to get really disturbed and pressured up over the issues around racial injustice. I write in hopes of this being helpful.
Over the past 30 plus years I’ve watched the world and political and religious organizations try to rob Christianity of words. There was a time where I got afraid to say “God is love” because some were using that term to express a wrong view of God. Thankfully, I came to my senses and got some courage to reinsert that biblical phrase into my language and ministry. I could give you a list of similar phrases and words (i.e. “born again”, “brotherhood of man”, “holiness”, “Spirit-filled”, etc., etc.)
The Bible is clear that every human being and every ethnic race is created in the image of God and for the glory of God. We stand together as sinners in need of a great Savior and by faith we stand together, weep together, rejoice together and hope together as brothers and sisters in the family of God. So, black lives matter.
Numerous great articles have been written to explain why “black lives matter” is not in any way a statement that all lives don’t matter. It simply speaks to the need to raise our voice and declare something that needs amplified. When your house is burning, you don’t want the fire department to make their concern all the houses in town because they matter too. You want them to put your fire out.
Several evangelical leaders have suggested that expressing that black lives matter is an endorsement of everything bad and everything good in the Black Lives Matter organization. That is not what I am doing when I say that, and I believe that thinking is terribly inconsistent.
On July 4th, I will celebrate being a part of the United States of America. As I do that, I am not saying that I support abortion which American law supports. I am not saying that I support gay and lesbian marriage which America supports. I am not saying that I support racial injustice or any of the other sins that our nation actively or passively supports. Nor will I think that everyone who holds up a flag or shoots off fireworks or has a picnic on July 4th is endorsing those things – especially if they are bible believing, God loving fellow Christians. And if some Christians feel like that celebrating July 4th would violate their conscience because it ties them too closely to the sins of our nation, then I would want them to obey their conscience and not be judged by our church family – nor be judgmental towards their brothers and sisters.
Some Christians have shared with me reasons they are supportive of some things that our President has done. When they express support for the president or for either political party – I don’t assume that they support all of the sins associated with their past, all of his statements or every leader of a political party’s statements, or any present positions that would run contrary to the Bible. I suspect that they genuinely see things that are helpful and even biblical – while distinguishing those from the things that aren’t.
The same should hold true when a Christian says that black lives matter. When I utter those words or express that sentiment, I have not abandoned 40 years of walking with the Lord and striving to be faithful to His Word. I am striving to be consistent with the law of love. If someone feels like saying the words “black lives matter” would violate their conscience because they are closely tied to another organization, then obey your conscience, but realize you should work hard to express that valuing of life and dignity of black fellow image bearers of God. And do not judge your Christian brothers and sisters who have weighed out those issues differently in a desire to honor the Lord and love their neighbor.
All of us should excel at love, as we seek to obey our Lord.
If something irritates us, we would do well to go to the Bible and look at our hearts, be humble and ask God to teach us. We would do well to pray for God’s help that we (and our church family) would walk in love towards one another and towards our neighbor in this world.
I’m so thankful to be a part of Springs of Grace and this church family. We are about Jesus and are seeking to emphasize the glory of God – as seen especially in the cross of Jesus. We care about a lot of things – one of those is racial injustice. It’s not the only thing and it isn’t even the main thing, but as God has brought it to the forefront again, I’m not going to abandon biblical words or biblical sentiment and give my hurting brothers and sisters a lack of clarity of whether I love them – just because an organization has taken good words and made them their hashtag.
Hope that helps.

Pastor Joe