Jackie Hill Perry, a spoken-word/hip-hop artist who writes for Desiring God, explained at Legacy Conference 2016 what it means to be made in God’s image and how this should influence people’s reaction to death, whether a death sparks debate or not.

“When people are having these conversations about Alton [Sterling], Philandro [Castile] and all these people, they label them all of these names — criminal, CD player-seller person — but they forget the weight of, he was made in God’s image, y’all. Foundationally, he’s that,” Hill-Perry told Rapzilla. “I feel like if people zeroed in on that more than the list of things that they might or might not have done throughout their life, then I think they would grieve more because then you would see that [death] hurts God’s heart because he was made in God’s image.”

Christians often see the Gospel and social justice as two separate issues. but Hill-Perry declared that the Gospel should inspire social justice.

“I think if you look at social justice in the sense of me loving people who are oppressed, then you would see that Jesus did that,” she said. “You see that God consistently did that throughout the Old Testament, even to the point that He would rebuke nations and people who are not walking in justice. Even in Micah 6:8, it’s like, ‘Yeah, you doing all this stuff, but you’re not loving kindness, you’re not walking humbly and you’re not doing justly.’ …

“If anybody, should be living their life for the service and honor and dignity of another, it should be Christians. And I think the world has done a better job at social justice than we have. And I think because we have gotten to this idea that theology should not express itself in doxology, or that we can know all of these things, but it shouldn’t move itself out into how we engage with the world, and I think that’s one of the biggest problems of the church now.”