Why Lives “Matter”

JULY 31, 2016     |      PASTOR ZACHARY PUDLO
Black Lives Matter Photo
Over the past month it has become clear that our nation, and our world, is still a bit confused about why lives matter. Outbreaks of violence are becoming more and more frequent. Violence motivated by a disdain for people who are “different”. How do Christians address issues of violence, racism, and division? God gives us the the motivation and the resource. And it all starts with who you are.
“Black lives matter”. “All lives matter”. “Blue lives matter”. The slogans are out. Do they help heal our divided world, or do they cause more division? “Black”, “all”, “blue”… those aren’t the words we really should be dwelling on. “Matter”… there’s a word worth looking at. “Matter” has its origin all the way back to the Latin word “materia”. It means “the source from which something is made.” So whenever someone claims that a life matters they are pointing back to their origin or their source. They are pointing to the materials that make them. They are saying that the place from which a human being comes is what makes them important.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would agree with that. On July 4, 1965, he said this in his famous speech, The American Dream
You see, the founding fathers were really influenced by the Bible. The whole concept of the imago dei, as it is expressed in Latin, the “image of God,” is the idea that all men have something within them that God injected. Not that they have substantial unity with God, but that every man has a capacity to have fellowship with God. And this gives him a uniqueness, it gives him worth, it gives him dignity. And we must never forget this as a nation: there are no gradations in the image of God. Every man from a treble white to a bass black is significant on God’s keyboard, precisely because every man is made in the image of God. One day we will learn that. (Yes) We will know one day that God made us to live together as brothers and to respect the dignity and worth of every man.
Martin Luther King Jr. was alluding to the book of Genesis when he said that all mankind is made in the image of God. “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) Seems simple, doesn’t it? Every human being has their origin in God. God loves and creates every human being, so every human being should have respect for every other human being. If God loves all, then why don’t we? Why is this so hard to keep in mind? What’s gone wrong?