Guest post by Gerald Morgan Jr.
Dear well-meaning, but woefully ignorant, pastors,
#AllLivesMatter. Just wanted to get that one out there.
This past Sunday evening, three days after the #DallasPoliceShooting, I knew what the Dallas service would feature. A bit of background: I live in Dallas. The shooting was a time of loss for everyone in the community. A community my church serves well. What that community needed was healing. The community needed time to gather around one another and recognize evil still existed, yes, but that we would continue fight that evil until Christ returns. That’s what I hoped to hear from the Dallas memorial service. Sure, most of the service was centered around unity, around battling evil. But half-way through the memorial, the tone took a hard left turn.
My pastor demonstrated ignorance. He proved he hadn’t done any research into the events which led to the recent string of police shootings following the #BlackLivesMatter movement, its protests, its calls to action. My pastor joined the uninformed masses in outrage born of ignorance. As the adage goes, where there’s one, there’s many. And my pastor’s sentiments may be shared by you.
The analogy my pastor used went something like this:
“Saying #AllLivesMatter to someone who says #BlackLivesMatter may be correct but it’s incredibly insensitive. It is like someone who’s house is on fire saying, #MyHomeMatters and you’re running up to them and saying no, #AllHomesMatter. Yes #AllHomesMatter but your house isn’t on fire.”
The ignorance was stunning. I thought, “but the houses of black Americans aren’t on fire!”
Yes, there are racist cops who use excessive force. They’re jerks. Guess what? There are jerks in any profession. However, as in any other profession, the acts of a few do not make the rule. We call these rarities “the exception.” Especially when one factors in most Americans’ experiences with officers of the law. Yes, including many black Americans. Most cops are good people who just want to do their job. To protect and serve.
To accurately describe the real situation surrounding BlackLivesMatter, the analogy should have gone like this:
Your house isn’t on fire but @TheRevAl (Al Sharpton) runs up to you and tells you that your house is indeed on fire. You then say #MyHomeMatters. I look and see your house isn’t on fire and say #AllHomesMatter.
Why is this important? Particularly to Christians? Truth matters. John 8:32 “and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
We must know the truth so justice can be served. Contrary to popular belief, Christians are not barred from making judgments. However, without truth, we are incapable of making accurate, fair judgments. Without facts, we’re no more than a pitchfork-wielding mob. Which is what happened in Dallas, now in Baton Rouge.
Until you pastors stop listening to the Al Sharptons of this world, we will never have true justice. Even worse, rushed, factless judgment destroys lives in the process.
If you don’t start with the truth, if you instead start with a false narrative, we will always be divided. How can we start a dialogue with one another when too many of us have decided the truth doesn’t matter? How can we find unity when you’re screaming “Black lives matter!” and I am saying “Yes, but #AllLivesMatter equally“?
Unity in the absence of truth is an exercise in futility.
Realize this: We are all one community. All our lives matter. Yes, even the ones you disagree with. You want to know how to overcome evil? John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Yes, it’s important for us all to be compassionate. But compassion without honesty is meaningless. It is merely love without conviction. So to the rest of you, I ask that you speak the truth with compassion, exactly like Jesus did when confronting the “angry mobs” of His day. Sure, I know it isn’t the most popular thing to do, and it won’t sell a ton of Christian self-help books. Yes, you will be hated by many for it.
But remember… they hated Jesus first. For the exact same reason.
#AllLivesMatter. Jesus taught us so.