On Tuesday, June 2, many people flooded their social media sites with a simple black screen using the hashtag: #blackouttuesday.
The idea behind the movement was to remove the focus from one’s art, content, and personal preferences to stand out and “speak up” for those suffering in oppression. But does it? Does blacking out your social media screen do anything?
That Tuesday was my 23rd birthday, so I made sure to note what was happening and coming from the screens of my peers. Along with the posts proclaiming how “black lives matter,” my (Christian) peers were chanting, “All lives don’t matter, until black lives do.”
I was a bit taken aback.
Not because I don’t agree that black lives matter, but because I do. And for the believer, shouldn’t all lives matter? Shouldn’t we strive to help those who are hurting?
I grew up in a small town in Mississippi, so I am aware that racism exists. At a young age, I would visit my church friend’s homes. There, I often witnessed some of the most prominent families in the church use words, phrases, and jokes that revealed their disdain for those of another race.
It broke my heart.
As a homeschooler, my parents had been adamant about teaching my siblings and me differently. My parents taught us to love and respect others: period. So when I witnessed believers such as pastor’s wives, children of staff members, and the ones who stayed at the church “every time the door was open” degrading others because of their skin pigmentation, I was confused.
I was confused because, in church, we preach “all lives matter.” But in some “Christian” homes, they don’t. This is a big reason for the problems we have today.
I will never condone violence, riots, or looting. But after years of witnessing people in power at the church not act like the church behind closed doors, I understand that it is time to change. However, change isn’t coming from a blacked-out Instagram page or the destruction of a city. It’s going to come by helping the lost, educating the scared, and being present for the needy…regardless of their skin color.
Not only do all lives matter, but so do their souls and the burdens they bear.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).
The current state of affairs in our nation is causing many to focus on the wrong issue. The problem isn’t race or politics, but the burdened souls who are losing hope. No social media posts are going to fix social injustice. Rather than a “blacked-out” screen, it’s going to take real relationships and acknowledging others’ pain.
In a recent interview, evangelist Nick Hall said, “I am not against using social media, but at some point, we have to step out from behind our screens and look at another person in the face, because change happens through relationships.”
While this particular interview was geared toward understanding Generation Z, it applies across the board. Instead of looking through social media filters, we have to be willing to get our hands dirty and carry others’ burdens.
We have to be relational.
If we’re following the way of the cross, we’re aware that more is required from our walk than our prized church pew – it is ministering to the hurting body of Christ. When we look at the chaos and the mess the world is in, we are point-blank missing souls who desperately need the love of Christ, which applies to both white and black. In Christ, we are one body made in the image of God.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and overall the creatures that move along the ground (Genesis 1:26).
Wait. Are we made in God’s image? All of us? The whole earth? Yep. If that’s the case, why have I heard so many believers disrespect their brothers and sisters in Christ?
In our chaotic world, we’re losing focus on the real goal – winning souls.
Instead of seeking to help the hurting, we’re growing cold and callous. Instead of speaking up for a brother, we’re silenced by fear. Rather than changing a situation, we’re cowering behind social media “movements.”
To change, we must begin to educate, listen, study, and love one another. Not to appease the world’s agenda, but to please the Creator. However, before that can happen, we must acknowledge there is a problem and begin looking for a solution. Because when it comes down to it, skin color is just a small part of who we are. Yet, the soul of a human being is of eternal importance.
Let’s start a movement. Not in the streets or on Facebook, but in the hearts and souls of those who need an awakening. Rather than burning cities, let’s set our hearts ablaze again.
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord (Romans 12:11).