“He has a gun; run!” That’s what Shetamia Taylor, an African American mother of four sons, heard a white police officer yell at her last week in Dallas as he was shot and falling to the ground. Shetamia, too, was hit, in the calf, and she later recalled this story as she was in the hospital recovering from surgery and being reunited with her “babies,” who were all safe, thanks to other officers who shielded them and got them out of harm’s way. But she’ll never forget that officer concerned about her safety as he, himself, was going down. She never even knew if he survived or if he was one of the casualties.
It’s stories like these that cut through the racial fog and bring clarity to our shared humanity. We’re all human, and life is precious. We all matter. Life matters, and in life and death situations, whatever life can be saved, save it. “Black Lives Matter” was the theme of the march in Dallas that day, but as soon as bullets started flying, it quickly became every life that mattered.
This is where the biblical truth about God and man helps us figure some of this out. The Bible teaches that every one of us is important. Every one of us, though fallen, is made in God’s image and reflects something about the character of God. God knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. He knows our sin and fallenness as well, and that’s why He became one of us, suffered and died and rose again so He could be the perfect sacrifice for our sin. We make mistakes. We screw up; but we all matter, and Jesus proved that on the cross.
I understand the “Black Lives Matter” movement and where it comes from — that many believe it can be shown that in the handling of suspects by law enforcement in this country, black lives don’t matter as much as white lives do. But before all this, black lives don’t matter because we had a movement or a march, they matter, first and foremost, because they matter to God. We all matter. Life matters, because we are made in the image of God and Christ died and rose again for us.
Our lives all matter to God. I’m sure Shetamia believes that, as well as the officer who shouted, “He has a gun; run!” — wherever he is now.