Recent events have left no doubt that our country is broken and hurting. We are especially heartbroken in Louisiana today at the news that three police officers have been shot and killed and three additional officers are injured during a senseless ambush attack in Baton Rouge. This attack comes on the heels of the loss of Alton Sterling, an African American man who was shot and killed as he wrestled with two police officers on July 5, and the loss of five Dallas police officers in a sniper attack on July 7. Everyone’s emotions are running high. We respond with posts bearing hashtags such as #blacklivesmatter and #bluelivesmatter, each with extremely valid reasons of why these particular lives do matter. The #gaylivesmatter community is saying, “Don’t forget about us…we are hurting too.” So we come up with an all-inclusive #alllivesmatter. And, yes, all lives DO matter.
So, what is the solution to all the chaos we are currently facing and how can we do our part to promote healing? And where is God in all of this?
When Paul was writing the Book of Philippians, he was facing days of uncertainty and dire circumstances (think oppressive Roman imprisonment). Yet the over-arching theme of this book is for the church at Philippi to have JOY and UNITY despite their circumstances as Paul was striving to do in his own life. He gives these simple instructions that also applies to our current reality as much as it did to the early church. The solution lies in these words:
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:5
Could it really be that easy? Well, I suppose it depends on what your definition of “easy” is.
Gentleness, a fruit of the Spirit, is used in this verse as an adjective meaning that not only are we to be considerate of others, but we are also to treat people in a manner that is “fitting, right, or equitable.”
The word for all is πᾶς meaning just what you think it does: each, every, whole, ALL.
God is telling us that we are to treat each and every person that we come into contact with on a daily basis with consideration and view them as equitable in God’s eyes. Whoa! Take a minute and let that soak in. If we are all equitable in God’s eyes, then why are we still stereotyping each other? And therein lies the rub. We all want to be viewed as if our life matters and we want to be treated in a fair and equitable manner.
But most definitely, killing is not the answer; anger is not the answer; retaliation is not the answer. Love is the answer; peace is the answer; gentleness is the answer.
But why can’t I just live my life and you live yours? Why do I have to be considerate of others and their feelings?
The answer is this: Because the Lord is near. This does not mean the Lord is near as in the Holy Spirit is among us (even though He is), but this is better translated as “People get ready! Jesus is coming!”
If we really believe that all lives matter, then we have an obligation to not only be considerate, but also to be the Light. Pointing others to Jesus, telling them of a Savior who values their life so much that He gave His own life. Ultimately, Jesus is the answer.
So, you see, healing is never “easy,” but you and I can do our part to show the world that all lives matter by doing these two things in our everyday lives:
- Let your gentleness be evident to all. To the black police officer who took a vow to protect you. To the young white man you pass on the street. To the person bagging your groceries. To your gay coworker. To the waitress serving your food. To your spouse. To your children. To ALL.
- Let your light shine. The world is watching and waiting to see how we will respond. Resist the urge to speak out judgment or condemnation on others who are different than you. Rather speak the name of Jesus…the Name above all names…the only name that saves.
He is near and He is the original author of life. His desire is that everyone (all) would come to repentance and know Him as their Savior (2 Peter 3:9).
He is a God who truly believes that ALL LIVES MATTER.