Is the value of life Inherent or Imparted?
Protests, marches, riots… It’s about race, but it’s also about something deeper than race. The true issue is at the core of our lifestyles, mindsets, and even our beliefs. Political and governmental organizations are not the only entities wrestling with the symptoms resulting from the core problems that have become exposed in a momentous way over the last several months. Churches are also being confronted with the reality that this belief has seeped into our thoughts, beliefs, and actions as we often align ourselves more with political affiliation than with the gospel of Jesus. Will Christians choose to acknowledge and confront these anti-christ mentalities or to simply ignore them? Many will choose to soothe their consciences through retaliatory statements and actions that continue the devaluing cycle, while others will alleviate guilt through the justification of political affiliations and alliances.
Although positive steps may be taken to alleviate the racial inequality that has plagued our nation since its founding, I have serious doubts as to the willingness of Democrats, Republicans, or my fellow humans in general to dig deeply enough to kill the root cause of the issue.
We treat people as if their value is imparted, not inherent.
Our thinking is inconsistent and often completely irrational regarding human life and equality, because we’ve largely decided that we are the ultimate authority in the assigned value of an individual. Through selfishness, we’ve decided that the determining factors are us and our happiness or success as individuals, communities, nations, and the world. It is nothing new. If it is not blatantly stated, then it is presented in a veiled manner that a person’s value results from her/his contribution. Life’s value is no longer inherent, but imparted by mob mentality. The bigger the people group (or voting bloc) or power of the entity determines the amount of authority relinquished in the designation of individual value.
Obviously, this holds implications for societal and political issues that extend beyond racial equality, if we are to be consistent. Truly and honestly seeking to address the issue of racial inequality will necessarily require the revisitation of decisions made regarding life in general. This is not a quick resolution. This is the reexamination of the core of who we are and how we think.
When it comes to Christians and our response, we are thousands of years behind where we should be on the issue of race. We have suffered a reverse evolution in many cases. Rather than advancing the message of gender and racial equality found in the early church, we have succumbed to segregated and often patriarchal filters through which we view our fellow Christians and the rest of the world. When those views that are founded more on tradition than the Bible are challenged, we lash out and respond in fear.
Fear is a very different response than the excitement of the Early Christians when their cultural views were upended as it was revealed that God did not distinguish on the basis of race or gender. Luke brags in Acts 13:1 about the diversity of those teaching in the Antioch location. Paul proclaims the dissolving of his view of racial and gender superiority in Colossians 3:11 and Galatians 3:26-28.
While there are many churches demonstrating this type of equality within their communities and are able to serve as an example, there are many church communities who should be asking themselves some really difficult questions. Maybe our churches have adopted cultural values that align more closely with our political affiliation than with God. In those instances, we have eliminated ourselves from the ability to serve as the City on a Hill described by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
We should seek to identify with Christ and his standards for how we treat every other person with whom we interact.
Every person you could ever meet has been made in the image of God. Is that how you see them?