Rodney King was an African American man who was beaten by Los Angeles cops in 1991, and the beating was caught on tape. The acquittal of 4 police officers who were charged with using excessive force sparked the 1992 LA Riots in which King pleaded for the rioters to stop when he used the infamous words in his speech, “…can we all get along?”1
Those are some pretty powerful words, aren’t they? Can we all get along? It should be so simple to get along and to treat others as we would want to be treated, but the truth is we struggle as humans with this. Why? We love ourselves and want our own way too much!
This past week, one group rallied that only white lives mattered while another rallied that black lives matter. One group thinks a statue should come down while another group fights to keep it up. One man in a car feels strongly enough to injure and kill other human beings. Horrible, hateful and harmful words were spoken to one another for the sake of a cause in which they believed and violence ensued.
Jesus instructed in Mark 12:31 to love your neighbor as yourself. Note that Jesus does not tell us to love ourselves more. The problem is not that we don’t love ourselves enough. The problem is that we do love ourselves way too much, and we love our neighbor way too little.
I believe ALL people are made in the image of God no matter if you are African American, Native American, Caucasian, Korean, Jewish, Oriental, etc (Galatians 3:28). I believe Jesus Christ died for ALL people (2 Corinthians 5:15). I believe ALL lives matter to God, and therefore, ALL lives should matter to me. I believe I am instructed to love my brother (1 John 4:20-21) and pray for my enemies (Matthew 5:44).
I feel like this world is going absolutely mad. One group thinks differently from another group, and they hate each other for it. There is so much hate and so much dissension. Isn’t it because both groups want their our own way so badly?
I have numerous relationships with people who believe differently than I do whether I agree with them or not. I believe I can and I do still love them in spite of those differences. I can still be civil with them, love them and even have a respectful conversation about our differences. It is God’s job to convict someone’s heart, not mine. I can speak the truth of God’s Word to them in love. It is possible to not hate. It is possible to love.