My daughter had just caught the tail end of a news report about a sad chain of events that seems to have become a way a life in America.
“Mom,” my eight-year old questioned, “what’s a blue life and a black life?”
How do you explain to a child the near civil war plaguing our country?
One minute we hear “our lives matter;” the next it’s “their lives matter.” The unresolved bitterness and misunderstanding toward the alleged enemy simply drives the gauntlet deeper.
If we are honest with ourselves, we probably have an opinion on the crisis based on the information we have filtered through our perceptions. But therein lies the problem: our perceptions form a subjective reality.
There is only one perception that is founded on a solid ground of truth. It is on this foundation that we are to base all our responses, even overriding our instinct and opinions to do so. That source is the God who created and values every life.
So shall we ask, whose side is God on? Surely God could resolve the dispute once and for all. Surely He can answer the question of whose lives really matter?
When Joshua led the new generation of Israelites into the Promised Land, he encountered a Man with His sword drawn in His hand (Joshua 5:13). Joshua asked the Man, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?”
The question seems reasonable, and even wise considering what was at stake. If the Man had been a mortal, he would have answered, “I am for you” or “I am for them.” But interestingly, He didn’t reply according to human expectations. He simply said, “No.”
As Reverend Richard Wurmbrand explains in his book, Tortured for Christ, the Man was not a mortal. “He came from a place where everyone and everything are understood, looked upon with pity and compassion, and loved with fire.”
This Man was not of this world. He was of God. The point: God does not choose sides between men.
Despite our sin, God loves everyone. There are no enemies in God’s eyes. People are not the problem as God sees it; sin is (Isaiah 59:2; Ephesians 6:10-11). God hates the sin, but desperately loves the sinner. His patience means our salvation (2 Peter 3:15).
Violence is never borne of a Spirit of God. It stems from the enemy. We are called to love justice. But, no matter what injustice has befallen us, we must respond with love to overcome evil. Overcoming evil is the only chance for real change.
So, if your child asks “whose side are you on?” could you respond “No”?
Children are the future. We parents are the hand that rocks that cradle, which proverbially rules the world. As such, we harness the power to shape the future by what we teach our children. Therefore, we choose to arm ourselves with the weapons of love and compassion rather than arming ourselves with a “side.”
As for my daughter, I explained the pain that is borne of injustice on both sides. “God, however, loves them all” I articulated. “He wants everyone to love each other.
And that starts with us.”
 Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ (Bartlesville, VOM Books 2013), 62.