Over the last few weeks I’ve sat on the sidelines watching the rhetoric escalate regarding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Gardner at the hands of police. I just want to scream to everyone, “STOP IT!” It is Christmas, and the fighting back and forth is not helping anyone. That said, I’m not here to blame the men who died or the police – I don’t know enough about either situation to comment on blame, nor is this post about blame, or actually these very tragic situations.
Both of these situations, however, have prompted me to think a little deeper about life and the worth of the soul. In both cases protesters have chanted the phrase, “Black lives matter”, over and over again – to the point of being ridiculous.
The Lord has taught us, to “remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (see Doctrine & Covenants 18:10). Yes black lives do matter. But white, yellow, and red lives also matter. Every life matters to our Father in Heaven. And I have been particularly impressed with this thought as Christmas has approached.
All lives matter. All of them.
We know that all lives matter, because of the Plan of Salvation and the role that Jesus Christ played in that plan. The scriptures provide more insight into this. The book of Abraham tells us about the great council in heaven before the world was. We were there and the Lord knew us.
“Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good” (see Abraham 3: 22-23).
Jeremiah provides more evidence that the Lord knows us: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nation” (Jerimiah 1: 5). And because the work and the glory of the Lord is to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (see Moses 1: 39), he provided a savior for us.
“Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth. Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered. And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.” (See 2 Nephi 2 6-7, 26).
John said it so simply, but powerfully, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (see John 3: 16).
A few days ago I read a blog post by one of my favorite commentators, a man named Joe Dallas. He said, “Christmas is about Christ, of course, but it’s not about Christ in a vacuum, since He existed long before the nativity. (John 1:1-2) It’s about Christ in relationship to the people He came for, and their value in His sight. Angels said as much when they heralded the shepherds with “Peace on earth, good will towards men.”
I’m pretty sure I am a spectacular failure at many aspects of the Gospel, and at being a Latter-day Saint. However, one thing I do know, and I know as much as the sun rising in the east, is that our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us. And that he loves me. I know that we matter, that we have value to him, and because of that there is a way to succeed at life and at sainthood.
If you know this, that you matter and are loved, help other people realize this, and come to know this. I have always felt that if we remembered that we are children of a Heavenly Father who loves us, and that each of has value, a lot of what plagues the world would quickly disappear.
All lives matter and all souls have worth. This is why we celebrate Christ’s birth now, and in a few more months why we will celebrate His resurrection – a literal triumph over physical and spiritual death, a triumph that allows us the opportunity to return to that Father, who knew us before we were formed in the belly, and who loves us all very dearly.