What Is the Value of a Black Person’s Life?

What is the value of a human life? Or to be more precise what is it for a black person’s life?

Is it worth subordinating your agenda, your rights, your feelings, your privilege, your race?

Is it worth getting unfollowed, unliked, ghosted, canceled, hated, arrested, despised?

Is it worth protests, standing against police lines, facing your fears, being subjected to violence, losing property to looting?

If you’re a Christian, like me, you believe that all people—every tribe, tongue, nation, religion, race—has infinite value. Humans are created in the image of God. And to murder that bearer of God’s face is like murdering God.

That’s why ending a human’s life is so solemn, the heaviest of decisions.

But we know that.

The problem, I believe, isn’t that we’ve forgotten the value of human life.

The problem is this: We’ve never known the value of a black person’s life.

That. Must. Change.

It is time to see that black lives don’t just matter, they are valuable, just as valuable as our own, as our child’s, our mother’s, our friends’.

When we know that, the world will be transformed.

You will transform.

Peace Must Be Fought For

People in power don’t give up power willingly.

You don’t see them surrendering a seat of power unless it’s absolutely necessary. Kings must be beheaded, rebellions must be incited, and revolutions fought in order to unseat tyrants, despots, and dictators.

Isn’t that how America was born?

Now we live in a “free” country. It’s blessed, and rich—for some. But there are others who aren’t free enough.

Black people still feel fists, boots, knees, bullets violently thrusted at them, not by ordinary citizens, but by those mandated to uphold the law.

They use their authority to authorize unjust death sentences at a whim, in a moment of fury, rage, drenched in racism and tyrannical hate.

Will they relinquish their power easily? No. The murdering of blacks by those in power has been happening far too long.

The powerful must be held accountable, deposed from their offices, brought down by the strong hand of justice. That’s why people march, fight, protest.

Without it change would not occur.

Without it there would be no true peace.

To have peace, we must fight for it.

Keeping perspective in crisis: This too shall pass

Yes, I’m afraid. But my fleeting fear rests on this fact: This too shall pass.

Coronavirus should be taken seriously. We shouldn’t just keep on hanging out with all of our cohorts, sharing food, drinks, laughs in a crowded space, spraying respiratory droplets all over each other like we’re watering the lawn. Gross, but true.

Yet, we can’t live in fear either. Perspective is needed. There have been other epidemics and pandemics. And some of them have been incredibly deadly: AIDS (2005-2012) killed 36 million people, Spanish flu (1918) 20-50 million, The Black Death (1346-1353) 75-200 million. And humanity has survived them all.

So in those quiet moments, when it’s easy to get swept up and think the darkest thoughts surrounded by darkness, where we only see visions that make us tremble, remember this: the days will not always be dark.

Perhaps this is an opportunity to do some business with the Divine. Global crises seem to make those opportunities more opportune than they would have been if everything was bright. But God is humble and takes us no matter what draws us near so long as we do.

But no matter what state your soul is in or if governments start to close down borders, schools, or our favorite eateries and pubs—this too shall pass.

All of the epidemics and global crises that have hit this world have passed. And like a morning mist, they disappear years later as we forget them almost as if they never happened.

We are living through grave and difficult times. It is extraordinary.

But the dawn is coming.

It may get darker before we see the light. But it will come. And it will scatter the shadows before you.

And we will be eating and drinking together, laughing again and sharing our respiratory droplets freely without care, in the days to come.


To pass this time, I’m reading:

  1. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It (affiliate): Top FBI negotiator, Chris Voss, shares his secrets and tactics of how he won negotiations in life and death situations so that we can negotiate everything from our salaries to getting our children to do what we want. I haven’t finished this yet, but it’s been an incredible read so far. His stories alone are worth the read. But the concepts are simple but awfully useful. This book is a great investment.
  2. The Great Gatsby (affiliate): Beauty—that’s why I read this book repeatedly. Fitzgerald, the author, paints spectacular pictures with words that stir the soul like an ocean breeze as you stand gazing at the sun dipping into the shimmering watery horizon. If you want to draw your mind away from anything awful, read this.
  3. The Four Loves (affiliate): Love is life. Yet, it’s so hard to define. Good thing C. S. Lewis does it for us in this seminal work that gives us a deeper understanding in this essential element of living so that we might all live better each and every day, with or without a pandemic.

Just because it’s scary outside, doesn’t mean we can’t cultivate beauty within. Books and beautiful words do that for us, friends. I hope you fill yourself with them.

Lots of love to you.

John

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You are rich

If you can’t enjoy what you have, you’ll never appreciate what you want.

If you learn to feel rich in every moment, getting what you hope for will only make you richer.

Gratitude gives you abundance even when you may have relatively little.

And if you have nothing, you can still be grateful for life.

Even with just that, you have much.

Life is better when you think like this

The path of life is rarely clear ahead. The secret is to enjoy the walk.

Knowing what is ahead is impossible. Yet we pine and yearn to know what will happen to this or that in our lives. We worry, stress, and strain.

Why do that for something we cannot have? The future, no matter how hard we try to squint our eyes to see, is not visible to us. It’s too far for our vision. We are nearsighted.

Instead, look around, see those with whom you walk, talk to them, laugh, sit and eat, love. Bask in the sun, feel the warmth, breathe in the sweet aromas of life, nature, peace.

Step forward one foot at a time. Don’t rush. And certainly don’t fret. Enjoy each moment.

It’s a gift.