Why Jesus Would Not Say “All Lives Matter”

all lives matter bible verse

There are so many aspects of society and its response to racism and inequality that I could talk about, but there’s really only one small part of this very large issue that I wish to discuss today. And that’s the thing. In essence, this is a really small part. It’s a small act of service that we can provide to our brothers and sisters in the midst of a very large issue. In fact, this tiny concession means a big deal to the people in the muck of this mess, and who wouldn’t want to sacrifice (if I can even use such a lofty word) something so minuscule to make a huge impact on the feelings of another?

I think one of the bigger things bothering me during this uprising following the heinous murder of George Floyd (aside from blatant ignorance and racism, of course) is the position of some Christian brothers and sisters. Their perhaps well-meaning proclamations are hitting the ground flat, and they don’t represent me, although I am not one who is worthy to judge. You see, I too used to feel much the same as pious phrases I see pop up on social media, but I am grateful that the longer I live, the more the Lord reveals things to me. So, I thought I’d share what He’s saying.

As Christians (white Christians, that is), it’s easy to say things like, “Jesus died for us all!” And while I agree that’s true, we can’t stop there at such a deep-seated issue. After all, Jesus died to conquer sin, something that sadly still abounds and must be confronted. Remember when Jesus got angry and confronted sin in His Dad’s house?
We as white Christians will say that love is colorblind, and that the Lord only looks on the inside of a man. Again, these things are true, but the problem is that man doesn’t just look at the inside. In fact, they mostly look at the outside. They can’t help themselves. It’s that sin nature. Although we should desire to see people like Jesus, the problem is, we do not. We can’t change an entire society in a day. So, Karen, while I agree we should judge mankind by the red blood we all bleed, there are too many bad people not doing that. We need to face up to that first.

Would Jesus Say All Lives Matter?

And here’s the one I hate the most. Do you know I even said it before myself? I thought it was the Christian thing to say; what Jesus Himself would say. But now I realize I was just saying what I wanted to believe. What mattered to me. I was being selfish. I joined the band of good people saying “All Lives Matter,” but I never considered how far off base I was. Although all lives do matter to Jesus, in the face of inequality and racial injustice, I really don’t believe that’s what Jesus would say. I know, I know. I’m freaking you Caucasian, Southern Baptists out right now, but if we could ask Jesus how He felt about the Black Lives Matter movement, I really don’t think He’d respond like a large number of His followers.

Jesus would not say “all lives matter.”

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When I was praying about this earlier and asking the Lord to reveal to me His heart on the matter I kept thinking about the verses in the Bible where Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. I started to Google “what the Bible says about equality ” or something to that nature, but my mind just kept telling me the feet washing was all I needed to know.

I felt like Jesus said to my heart, “when you say Black Lives Matter, you’re washing feet.”

Y’all, stay with me. In John 13:1-17 we read the account of Jesus washing the feet of His disciples. First off, you need to understand something about feet back then. They were dirty. Everyone wore sandals, walked in the desert, and probably in animal excrement too. Every house had a basin at the door so people coming in could wash their nasty feet before entering. Even the poor homes had a basin for guests. The richer homes, though, had a servant who actually would wash the feet of the guests. Can you imagine having that job?!

When Jesus washed the feet of His disciples He was taking a posture of humility. He was saying that even though His Dad was The King and it was His House, that He would lower Himself to the role of a servant, washing away our dirt, and making us more suitable to come into His home.

Posture of Humility. I want you to think about that.

John 13: 12-15 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. ““You call me ‘Teacher and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

Do you remember the greatest commandment? It was to love the Lord your God, and second to love your neighbor as yourself. Our black neighbors have not felt very loved, and rightly so. They have felt less than us. Do you remember who Jesus revealed Himself as Savior to first? A Samaritan woman, who historically was considered less than a Jewish man, not only because of gender, but also race. Yet Jesus chose her for a very special event in history; to be the first to know the Son of God had come to earth to save mankind.

Jesus came to save us all, but He also understood what it was like to be marginalized. He revealed Himself to a Samaritan Woman to prove that He stood with the weak, the ones who were judged unfairly, the people who felt wounded by society. He loves us all, and He came to save us all, but He chose to reveal Himself to a woman who had been treated unfairly based on things other than her soul. He also took on the role of a servant to show mankind that humility is the best way to love!

Posture of Humility.

When people are hurting, Jesus takes a posture of humility. When people are treated unfairly, He takes a posture of humility. Yes, He throws tables too, but the beginning of having a servant’s heart comes with humbling yourself. It comes with saying, “I will be less, so you can be more.”

To answer back to Black Lives Matter with All Lives Matter, while basically true, is really the opposite of what Jesus would do. Check your heart and ask why the phrase bothers you so much. Is it because it implies white lives don’t matter to people? Or that police lives don’t matter? Or that your life doesn’t matter?

1 John 3:16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

No one is asking you to lay down your physical life, even though Jesus did, but if you truly want to follow His example, you would see that a huge part of being a Christian is laying down yourself. We must constantly lay down our own desires and look at the desires of others. We must constantly check our own selfish ambition and motives. We must take the role of servant and see to the hurting people around us, forgetting our own pain, and only seeing that of others. When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet He knew Judas would betray Him, that Peter would deny Him, and that Thomas would doubt Him, yet He washed their feet anyway. He took a posture of humility that said, “it’s ok that I’m giving my life. This isn’t about me right now. It’s about you. Let me wash your feet.”

Do you see it now? If you see someone hurting, cry with them. If you see someone angry, listen to their words. Hug them. No one is asking you to hang on a cross simply by answering, “yes, your life does matter. I’m sorry people have treated you like it didn’t.”

I would encourage you to lay down your pride and take the position of Jesus. Take a position of humility. The position of a servant who sees the injustice towards others and offers to wash their feet.

Brie Gowen
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Brie Gowen is a 30-something (sliding ever closer to 40-something) wife and mother. When she’s not loving on her hubby, chasing after the toddler or playing princess with her four-year-old, she enjoys cooking, reading and writing down her thoughts to share with others. Brie is also a huge lover of Jesus. She finds immense joy in the peace a relationship with her Savior provides, and she might just tell you about it sometime. She’d love for you to check out her blog at BrieGowen.com.