August 1, 2016

Why Every Life Matters to God

Written by Boyd Bailey

Why Every Life Matters to God 8.1

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 1, 2016

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

As a young boy the importance of treating everyone with respect and love was illustrated for me: all races, genders and religions. For most of my adolescence I attended a predominantly African American grade school. I distinctly remember my English teacher, Mrs. Rooks, model for us the simple lesson of love and acceptance for everyone. Fast forward to the year  1995 when my African American friend—Lee Jenkins and I met weekly to read and discuss Tony Evan’s book, Let’s Get to Know Each Other. Lee’s wife Martica did the makeup for three of our four daughters’ weddings—and Rita and I have attended the Jenkin’s church over the years.

I have been disturbed to learn the mutual love and respect the Jenkins and Baileys enjoy with one another is unfortunately the exception rather than the rule—even for followers of Jesus. Why is this? One reason is our country’s shift away from Christ’s commands. Like a deadly tornado our society has been swept away by its arrogant redefinition of what’s right. The further a generation distances itself from loving the Lord—the further they distance themselves from loving all people. The more our Creator is marginalized—the more His creation is marginalized. So for every life to matter— Christ has to matter—-otherwise, only “I” matter!

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness” (James 3:9).

Holy Scripture is crystal clear: male and female are created in the image of God. So, to dismiss a fellow human being is to dismiss the Lord’s crowning creation. To treat another race or gender with contempt is to treat Christ with contempt. How can we praise the Lord on Sunday and not praise and support a different race or religion during the week? I am learning there are two ways we can grow in our love and respect for those different than ourselves: empathy and education.

What does it mean to be empathic toward someone being treated unjustly? It means to feel their pain to the point we do something to alleviate it. We support them by speaking out against the inequities they routinely experience: like racial injustice, religious persecution or gender bias. Empathy without action is shallow sympathy. We may say we care, but until we do something, our words only patronize and could even cause a person to feel deeper inferiority. So, validate a person’s feelings, while seeking to help them find solutions to their unjust situation.

Education on the other hand seeks to comprehend the “why” behind the injustice an individual or group is experiencing. Why do some young black men turn to violence and crime? One reason is a poor example of fatherhood—dad left home or went to prison and was never around to parent their child. We can help solve this “fathering” gap by being available to mentor, tutor and provide jobs. Most of all, we look to our heavenly Father as the ultimate example of how to love and care for those different than ourselves. God’s love extends to every human being. He is especially interested in people who have been shunned by society. Every life matters to God, because He is the Creator of life—and what He creates—He calls us to love, respect and defend.

“Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean” (Acts 10:27-28).

 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, lead me to love and care for Your creation in an honorable way.

Application

What group or individual can I grow a loving relationship with, with the purpose of helping them receive justice and freedom in Christ and in their culture?

Related Reading

Psalm 8:5; John 4:9, 18:28; Acts 11:3; 1 Corinthians 11:7; James 2:1-26

Post/Tweet today

For every life to matter—then Christ has to matter—-otherwise, only “I” matter! #wisdomhunters #everylifematters

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Comments

  1. Susan Kay says:

    I was with you until you resorted to the familiar stereotype…”Why do some black men turn to violence”. What does that have to do with racial understanding? I actually thought you were going to say why are Black men targeted and subjected to police brutality? That would be a real conversation about race but it would require us all to look at American society as systemically organized around the oppression of people of color. Are Christians open to that discussion? Once we all are educated on this, maybe then we can begin the conversation.

    1. Gwynne says:

      Dear Susan,
      Thank you for taking the time to write to us after reading the Wisdom Hunter’s devotional “Why Every Life Matters to God”. We appreciate your input and the sincerity and compassion in which it was written. Susan, I hope your thoughts, as well as many others, will indeed open more discussions.

      I think Boyd summed it up when we stated “Holy Scripture is crystal clear; male and female are created in the image of God. So, to dismiss a fellow human being is to dismiss the Lord’s crowning creation. To treat another race or gender with contempt is to treat Christ with contempt”.

      As believers, we are called to love one another. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

      Susan, your comments motivated me to dig into His Word and seek some sort of guidance and understanding about not only this devotional, but the state of racial relationships these days. I started reading John 15:18 through John 16:33. These verses gave me a peace and conviction to start truly praying about a healing in our country. I pray, too, that the discussions will begin (spoken with grace, humility, and love).

      “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.” (John 16:33).
      There is one thing I know for sure- none of it can be done without HIM!!!

      You are a blessing to us and we are grateful that you are a part of the Wisdom Hunter’s family. We look forward to hearing from you again. If you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to email me anytime gwynne@wisdomhunters.com.

      Believing and trusting~
      Gwynne
      “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them until the end.
      Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all of my heart.
      Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I will find delight.” (Psalm 119:33-35)

  2. Delmesha Richards says:

    This devotional upset me so much so, that I felt the need to send this note, which was via email on August 1st immediately after reading this devotional. And since then, I have struggled with reading the devotionals sent every morning, I truly grapple in my heart.

    On one hand, I genuinely appreciate the perspective of how all lives matter to God, because I absolutely agree and believe that. Unfortunately, our social climate and judicial system does not agree or believe that – and never has – as it relates to brown people in America. Often times, the need for most white people to respond to the sentiment that Black Lives Matter with “all lives matter” is very offensive for a number of different reasons. For example, we are not saying “only black lives matter” we are simply illuminating the fact that our lives matter just as much as white men, women, boys and girls – those of whom are not being unjustly killed by men and women wearing badges and are not being incarcerated in epidemic proportions.

    Now, I appreciate the devotional speaking to overall injustice in a way that’s easy for people to receive, in that empathy with action regarding inequality and injustice is the right way to move forward.  I really appreciated that, that resonated with me.  

    However, upset me most is the part about educating ourselves which helps answer the question of why.  And the example used is “why do some young black men turn to violence and crime?”  I’m almost speechless at the audacity of that question. And it’s not because it’s not a valid question, but it clearly re-emphasizes and reiterates a message and the notion that only young black men are prone to violence and crime. Yet again, black men are being criminalized and by my CHRISTIAN community.

    Why wasn’t the question asked “why are so many unarmed young black men being killed by police?”

    Why wasn’t the question asked “why are so many people within the LGBT community committing suicide?”  

    Why wasn’t the question asked “why are Muslim’s being mistreated and even persecuted in a country where there is supposed to be religious freedom?”  

    I believe the author has a genuine heart and perspective that resonates with me. However, I’m immensely disappointed in the misunderstood racial tone that’s perpetuated in a devotional that should be so pure, unbiased, objective and ALL inclusive. 

    My heart is still grappling, I am still deeply saddened and disappointed. Making it incredibly difficult to read and enjoy and share and financially support Wisdom Hunters. I was just getting started!

    1. Gwynne says:

      Dear Delmesha,
      Thank you for reaching out to us in response to the devotional, “Why Every Life Matters To God”. We received a number of responses to the devotional and we were thankful for all of the feedback from our Wisdom Hunter’s family. Your honest and sincere thoughts are appreciated and we are so sorry you are still struggling with the words that were written.
      Please know that the author, Boyd Bailey, meant in no way to offend you or anyone else with his statements. If that is the case, please accept our apologies and please accept our gratitude for your passionate response.
      What I am grateful for these days, too, is that many conversations are starting to occur in communities and neighborhoods that have not have these discussions before. It is a long time coming, but it is happening. Thank you Lord Jesus!
      Boyd’s focus in the devotional was summed up in these statements:
      “Holy Scripture is crystal clear: male and female are created in the image of God. So, to dismiss a fellow human being is to dismiss the Lord’s crowning creation. To treat another race or gender with contempt is to treat Christ with contempt.”
      Delmesha, we are grateful for your insight. We hope you will continue to be a fellow wisdom hunter while we walk this journey together. Please continue to reach out to us with your thoughts so we can grow and learn together. We are all members of the same family – God’s family.
      Believing and trusting~
      Gwynne
      “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4: 15-16


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