Whose Life Matters? Only or Too?

I ask Mr. T if he has lived in our town his whole life. He has. (I can’t guess his age. Late 70s?)

I push a little deeper. “So you’ve seen lots of changes through the years, yes?”

“Oh, yes. . . . but I don’t like to talk about it.”

So we don’t talk about it. It’s not what matters to him right now. Other things matter more.

This sweet black man has a new problem: lung cancer. This is what matters the most now.

What Matters

Lots of things matter. But we can only focus on a few at a time. Our attention span is just that way. Life happens and diverts our attention here and there. Maybe to the most important thing; maybe not.

But here’s the thing:

If you matter to me (and God says you should), then what matters to you should also matter to me.

Right now, one of the things that matters in our country is improving race relations.

And that thing has picked up a name: #BlackLivesMatter.

That bothers some people. They counter with: #AllLivesMatter or #BlueLivesMatter.

Only or Too?

But what I’ve been reading and hearing for a few weeks now is the significance of one little word, unspoken, that can change your perspective.

And which one word you choose makes all the difference.

If you hear “ONLY black lives matter,” you might feel troubled.

“Only” is divisive. Only me. Only you. Am I the only one?

But if you choose “black lives matter TOO,” you become a partner.

“Too” is together. You, too? Me, too. This, too.

Only black lives or black lives too

We’re made to live together. For community. When we come together, we accomplish more. When we separate, we tear apart.

Will we come together to show respect to our black brothers and sisters who are saying they matter, too?

Listen to this African proverb:

“If you want to run fast, run alone. But if you want to run far, run together.”


Here are a few voices to encourage us to run together, to go the distance, to make it to the finish line.


Listen to this episode of Pass the Mic with Jemar Tisby and Tyler Burns discussing the Black Lives Matter movement and the Christian response. You don’t have to agree with everything. But if you listen, you’ll come away more informed.


This article was written by a “listener” at the RNC. Again, agree or disagree, but let’s learn to listen better. “Life isn’t a Facebook feed. Our love, our listening, must bring in, not edit out.”


A black writer responds to this question from her white friend: “So that I may be enlightened, can you please share with me some examples of institutional racism that have made an indelible mark upon you?”

Personalize Your One

Many people around us have problems. We need to care about them all.

But let’s hear the one who is speaking now. Help the one in front of us.

The next time I see Mr. T, I hope I’ll give him my full attention (I often fail at that). I want to hear his updates. I want to pray for his healing.

I want to show him that his life matters.

Not only. But too.

* * *

Please share your thoughts in the comments.

27 thoughts on “Whose Life Matters? Only or Too?

  1. TC Avey

    James 1:19 tells us we should listen more than speak. We can get farther in bridging the divide by listening than we can by denanding our voices be heard. People are more likely to listen to us AFTER we have listened to them. But we have to make sure we are really listening to what they are saying and not just waiting for our turn to speak.

  2. June

    Thanks for sharing these links, Lisa. Will definitely be coming back when I have a few moments to give them my full attention. In the meantime, I’ve shared your post on FB, where I’m sharing a series of “Part of the conversation” posts whenever I find a post like yours that moves the conversation forward. Excellent job, my friend!

  3. Heather

    Lisa, I’m letting your post sink in… re-reading and ready to listen… two ears and one mouth means we should hear others hearts, actions and words twice as much, right? Thank you for sharing these sentiments. And it certainly is much better to hear “me too”… Great positive things to think on and turn our minds to in a culture that just feels crazy sometimes.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Two ears and one mouth…yes, by design! Yet we all struggle with it. Sigh. So grateful for the grace to get one more chance every day to listen more. Thanks, Heather, for letting me listen to you through your thoughtful words here.

  4. Somer

    Great perspective and insertion of this word. We so easily become polarized in these groups. To our detriment. We all matter and that is like you said the heart of the matter

  5. Sarah Donegan

    Feeling like you don’t matter is an awful feeling. I never want to make someone think I don’t care about them. Their heart, their hopes and dreams, all matter to God as much as mine matter. All of us were made in His image, and I wish we could all see that.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Amen, Sarah. I’m not sure how we get so off-track by making others feel unwanted. I guess it’s the selfish tendency in us that comes out. But yes, we each matter to the Lord, and so we should each matter to each other. Thanks for your encouraging words here.

  6. Ginger Harrington

    Caring about others regardless of race, religion, or background is so important. We often fall short when it comes to living this out. Sometimes it’s unintentional. Thanks for a thought-provoking post on a very timely topic. Blessings today!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Ginger. You’re right that often it is unintentional. In watching a video of the abusers to the Little Rock Nine in Arkansas in the 1950s, one of the men said they didn’t really feel hatred toward the black student; they were just ignorant about them. They didn’t stop to think about how they felt; they didn’t try to know better. But once we wake up, we can allow God to change us.

  7. Michele Morin

    Lisa, I love how you love people one at a time. One meal delivered, one story listened to. It’s easy to love an abstract concept, but it’s loving people one at a time with all their quirks that takes sacrifice, dying to self.
    Thanks for sharing your Jesus-heart here today.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you for your sweet encouragement, Michele. I don’t feel that I make much a difference in this world. But maybe to the one person at a time that we’re with, it does matter in that moment. Have a blessed weekend!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Lisha. There has been so much good stuff online the past few months. I can’t keep up with all of it, but what I have read is so informative. I have so much to learn and I need to listen to do it.

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