The Jesus Life
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The Jesus Life

Which Lives Matter to Jesus?

Black lives or all lives?

Photo by Joseph Ngabo on Unsplash. Cropped

A few weeks ago, half of my Facebook feed was emphatically shouting that black lives matter. The other half was equally emphatically shouting that all lives matter. So which is it? Who is right?

As a follower of Jesus, I try to look to him for wisdom. Which statement would he endorse?

Spoiler alert: this is one of those false dichotomies. Jesus endorses both!

First of all, it is obvious to me that to Jesus, and by extension to God, all lives matter. As one widely circulated Facebook post said it:

Two thousand years ago,
Jesus ended the debate on which lives matter.
He died for all.

The life lost at sea while fleeing war matters. The life prematurely torn from the womb matters. The life trafficked to produce porn matters. The life enslaved to sew cheap clothing matters. The life humiliated for being gay matters.

All life crushed at the neck matters.

Nonetheless…

The lives of the warmonger and the xenophobe matter. The lives of the desperate mother and the executing doctor matter. The lives of the porn director and the addicted teenager matter. The lives of the ruthless manager and the ignorant customer matter. The lives of the judgmental and the unloving matter.

All life crushing another’s neck matters.

God’s all-encompassing love is offensive, isn’t it?

All lives matter.

Yet despite Jesus’s love for all lives, he sides with those whose necks are being crushed.

He hung around with the rejected and the marginalized, with the prostitutes and the drunkards. He shouted at the religious leaders for oppressing and excluding. He kicked the tables of rich moneychangers and ransacked the business of those profiting from an unjust system.

While Jesus emphatically affirms that all lives matter, he has this soft spot — or rather tough spot — for the last, the least and the lost.

The core question of the current, heated social media debate is not over which lives matter. The question is whether or not black lives are being systematically trampled and deserve Jesus’s special regard for the oppressed.

Because I believe that in many places in the West black lives are indeed systematically disadvantaged to say the least, I believe Jesus stands with them.

By this, he is not denying that all lives matter. He clearly believes that. He is rather expressing his special attention and care for the oppressed, those whose lives are being denied the love that is due them.

Black lives matter.

P.S.: There obviously lies a lot of complexity beyond the basic point I make here. One has to figure out whether indeed there is systemic oppression of black lives, what it means to be complicit in that, what it means to protest against that, etc.

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Life and love with Jesus in the 21st century

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Tim Brys ن

Tim Brys ن

Multi-disciplinary researcher. Love: God, friends, enemies. Europe 🇧🇪 and the Middle East 🇱🇧. I also write in Dutch.

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