An entire nation awoke to the news of a man named George Zimmerman being acquitted of any further charges in the killing of Trayvon Martin. It is certain that there is a shared ache throughout the courtroom, into the surrounding city and beyond. All of social media has guaranteed us that we may certainly not agree with the ruling, but what else can be done when justice is so perverted?
I can feel the same anger welling up within me as I did when it came to the Casey Anthony trial. I remember going through some strange emotions for being someone who was not affiliated in anyway with the case beyond a body watching a screen. I also remember what it was like to allow God into those thoughts as I sat in my anger towards Casey Anthony and in my sadness for little Caylee. I eventually went on to write a blog about what it is like to approach such sensitive matters with a Kingdom-like mindset, asking myself what it means to look at it through the lens of a Good and Righteous God and not my scale-like vision.
So, how are we to respond as Christian’s to another case like this? Let’s start with the basics:
Knowing Your State Laws
I currently work at an attorney’s office, and when trials of this nature are happening, all the attorney’s stop and watch. Last week, I was talking with one of the Partners and he was telling me that every state has its own varying versions of what murder could be. I remember feeling taken back at not knowing that. I have always assumed that 1st Degree or 2nd Degree murder or Manslaughter were all the same “definition”. Apparently, I was wrong. I highly recommend reading Emily Bazelon’s article regarding the Florida State Law, and how it was used to ultimately acquit Zimmerman of any charges other than murder.
In saying this, it is important to understand what we are saying “Yes” to on voting day and when it comes to signing off of a bill. We still have the opportunity to vote “No” or at least fight its passing. Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law is one of the more serious loopholes there is. Stay informed!
But seriously, What Would Jesus Say? I believe if Jesus were tangibly here with us, there would be a crowd of witnesses to hear Him speak on forgiveness. I also believe that He would be embracing the Martin family so tightly and so lovingly that the hope for their dead son would be a reminder that, no matter the weight of the heartache from this tragedy, there is hope for days without that weight, and for tears to be turned to joy.
I also believe that He would remind us that our hearts cannot go on being fueled by outrage as He calls for peace and unity. And although this news is so fresh for us, it is not fresh for Zimmerman. For the rest of his life, he will know that he has the blood of a 17-year-old life on his hands. For the next couple of weeks, we will know that Zimmerman was acquitted and then it is onto the next breaking news. The bigger reminder? Jesus wants to embrace Zimmerman, whether Zimmerman will ever recognize that or not.
Lastly, I believe that Jesus would remind us that it is a broken world, filled with broken systems. There is not a perfected way of life without Him in this world. In the moments of sorrow and pain, He has promised and given us hope. That is our only equation to go from. We can sing in outrage for only so long. We must be reminded again and again that we mustn’t thrive on the “Not Guilty’s”, but rather sit in the hope that one day “The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.” (Isaiah 65:17)
Let us grieve with the Martin family in their loss of a son, and may we be more eager to allow a Kingdom-like mindset usher our ever-fickle hearts through this broken world.