If the way you look really didn’t matter at all anymore, where would you get your worth? I know that’s a weird question. In fact, you might want ease on back and read that through one more time, but a bit more slowly. If nobody cared how anyone looks, how would you measure your value? That sounds impossible, right? How could a world like that ever be? We live in the age of the selfie, where everyone constantly posts their face everywhere hoping for tons of likes and comments telling them they are beautiful and hot. We rely on our looks to find out who we are and how we compare to everyone else, but what if we didn’t? What If you woke up one morning and every single person was blind?
What if the thing that matters most to almost everyone you know suddenly wasn’t a factor anymore? What if we literally couldn’t see each other? How would we measure ourselves? Would people still count calories and work out with the kind of obsessive zeal they do right now? Would people still spend thousands of dollars on clothes, shoes, cosmetics and haircuts? Would people still size everyone up without ever talking to them?
God made you the way you are. He gave you the body type you have. He decided your hair color and texture. He made your face and your feet and He did all of that on purpose. He likes you the way you are. You look the way you do because God invented you to look this way and that is the single most important thing you can say about the way any person looks. Our problem is that we try to pull so much more out of our look than that. We look in the mirror and try to find out who we are. We take selfies to get a score on our worth. We dress the way we do to find out how we compare. Girls do this and so do guys.
Three thousand years ago, God was picking a king for His people and he rejected all the guys everyone else would have chosen. People wanted the tallest, the strongest and the best looking man to be their king because we actually do think good-looking people are better people than the rest of us. We think they are better leaders. But God rejected those guys and hand-picked someone that everyone else overlooked. God chose David, who was not physically impressive. God picked the forgotten, the ignored, the neglected one to be the king. God said, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Who are you, really? Who are you to God? Did you know your value is limitless? Do you remind yourself of this critical truth? You are a beloved child of the Almighty King of the Universe and Jesus gave His life and His blood for you. God has a beautiful plan for your life and He doesn’t measure you the way other folks do. What would it take for to see yourself with God’s eyes?
It began simply enough. Commuting home from my work at Reno’s alt-weekly newspaper, theNews & Review, on May 18, 2012, I drove past the aftermath of a police shooting—in this case,that of a man named Jace Herndon. It was a chaotic scene, and I couldn’t help but wonder how often it happened.
I went home and grabbed my laptop and a glass of wine and tried to find out. I found nothing—a failure I simply chalked up to incompetent local media.
I started to search in earnest. Nowhere could I find out how many people died during interactions with police in the United States. Try as I might, I just couldn’t wrap my head around that idea. How was it that, in the 21st century, this data wasn’t being tracked, compiled, and made available to the public? How could journalists know if police were killing too many people in their town if they didn’t have a way to compare to other cities? Hell, how could citizens or police? How could cops possibly know “best practices” for dealing with any fluid situation? They couldn’t.
The bottom line was that I found the absence of such a library of police killings offensive. And so I decided to build it.