Making Peace with the Zimmerman Verdict
After many days of litigation, a verdict was finally announced in the trial of George Zimmerman. Zimmerman, who was accused of second-degree murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, has been acquitted of all charges. Reaction to this judgment has created a thunderstorm of controversy and conflicting opinions. Many have openly expressed sorrow and outrage throughout the country, with protests springing up in major cities like Chicago and Los Angeles. As Christians, how are we to respond to the events unfolding around us?
Trillia Newbell, of The Gospel Coalition, writes that the first thing we should do is pray.
“The apostle Paul, instructing the church in Rome on the implications of new life in Christ, challenged them and us to "weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15). I can only imagine the devastation that must have swept over Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother, and Tracy Martin as they learned of his death. The attention given to such high-profile cases can numb our senses to the real-life humanity of the situation. A real boy had a mother and father. Regardless of how he lived, he was made in the image of God (Gen 1:27). He played like other little boys, became a teenager, and then, at the age of 17, died at the hands of another man. It's a tragedy. We weep for their loss and pain. We cry out to God for comfort and faith for this family.”
Newbell continues by including Zimmerman himself in those prayers. Regardless of the court’s ruling, Zimmerman’s life has been inexorably changed. In the public eye, he will always be remembered for the death of Trayvon Martin, an action he can never take back. Finally, the most important thing we must do is forgive. Only through forgiveness can all parties involved in this case finally begin to heal.
In a recent post, writer Daniel Darling reminded his readers that God not only forgives us but commands us to forgive each other.
“This is how the gospel begins in us. First, we’re forgiven by the king and then we forgive. We can't ever forget the ordering of these two things. If we are to believe the gospel, we have to say that we can’t truly forgive until we’ve been forgiven. We don’t have the power. Romans reminds us that God “sheds the love of God abroad in our hearts by faith.” The gospel is the wellspring of forgiveness. This is what Paul means when he tells the Ephesians in 4:32 ‘Even as Christ forgave you, so also do you.’ You forgive as you’ve been forgiven.”
However you feel about the Zimmerman case, now is the time to mourn with those who mourn, and pray for both sides involved in this tragedy. God is present in all things, trust in him to make peace in this time of trouble.
*This article first published 7/15/2013