Just for a moment, let’s put aside every preconceived thought and idea with the aim of listening to one another. Isaiah the prophet writes God’s appeal to his remnant – Come now, and let us reason together.
In order to reason with one another, we have to listen to understand what the other is actually saying, to understand what may be behind what they are saying. I say this because we are all used to trying to come up with our next statement while someone may be making their point.
The past couple of weeks have gotten sort of ugly. I believe that most of us were saddened by the loss of life of the Dallas officers who were out participating with and providing and maintaining order for the protests of the Black Lives Matter movement in response to the officer involved shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
However, just the words Black Lives Matter have pitted whites against blacks, putting participants on the defensive. Why are those words so repudiated? Is it the thinking that as stated by former Mayor of New York, Rudy Guiliani, that it is racist?
Does “black lives matter” mean only their lives matter?
I recently heard someone try to explain it for/to his white sisters and brothers by raising the question that when Republicans say that they are Pro Life, are they saying that they are only for the babies in the womb?
Not at all. The reason that they have taken a strong position on being Pro Life is because millions of babies are being slaughtered as if they have no value.
Surely we get this, don’t we? Anytime one group (people or animals) appears to be targeted or disadvantaged we usually rise up to their defense in response, right? This is why we have PETA, MADD, and others.
But if we set aside our preconceived ideas and notions, could we see that the Black Lives Matter movement is also a response to what is viewed as a disproportionate number of shootings of blacks by law enforcement?
One of my Facebook friends posted in response to the repudiation of the term and its retort:
“Saying ‘all lives matter’ is like the fire department spraying all the houses with water, but only one is on fire.”
This past Tuesday, at the memorial for the Dallas officers, President Bush in his speech stated:
“Too often we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions.”
Let’s reason together. Empathy, although I have heard it a lot these past couple of weeks by many, including both Presidents Bush and Obama, needs to be revived. What does it mean to be empathetic? A simple definition is putting yourself in the other person’s shoes.
I thought about this movie as a way to show what empathy looks like. The movie clip below is from the movie Time to Kill.
What if you were born to a different family, in a different country? Do you think that you would be the same person? No. Our family and our backgrounds shape us to be who we are. I have often said that had my family remained in New Orleans where I was born, I would be a totally different person than I am today.
It is God determines where we live, into what people group we are born, and into what our socio-economic status will be.
A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. John 3:27b KJV
This should cause us to be more gracious and grateful.
We can start today.