It reveals more about us than it does them.
Most likely, every one of you reading this column have heard of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. And, most likely, you know what’s happened since Zimmerman was acquitted of killing the 17-year-old young black man by a Florida jury of six women.
Needless to say, the jury’s decision was met with relief by Zimmerman’s family and disbelief by Martin’s family. Sadly, shortly after the decision was announced rioting broke out in some places, which included looting, destruction of property, the burning of some businesses, etc. And, there are reports that one white jogger was attacked and beaten by some young black men in one city, while a Hispanic man was assaulted in another.
I guess the questions concerning this trial are “Why?”
First of all, why did the incident make national headlines and captivate the media for days on end? Such senseless tragedies occur every day and we never hear anything about them. Secondly, why the destructive outrage over the jury’s decision and reports that the Justice Department is even looking into seeking other charges against Zimmerman?
While it’s sad that Trayvon Martin lost his life — especially at such a young age — the fact remains that no one but him and George Zimmerman know exactly what happened that night. And, since young Martin is gone, only Zimmerman and God know. Thus, when the jury was shown the evidence and concluded that there wasn’t enough to convict him beyond a reasonable doubt, then that should have been the final word.
But, it wasn’t.
And, I anticipate this case will continue to be tried in the courtroom of public opinion for some time to come and the Justice Department may continue seeks way to turn it into a civil rights case. But, again, the question is “Why?”
For sure, the trial in a Florida criminal court was full of controversy, outrage and moral meaning. Then, when the issues of race and political scrutiny were thrown into the mix, it made matters worse. But, at the end of the day George Zimmerman had his day in court and was acquitted by a jury of his peers. So, again, we should accept it as we would any other legal decision — even though we may not agree with it — and move on with life.
Even then, this central tragedy will remain with us. There’ll be other 17-year-old young men and women — black, white, brown and yellow — who’ll be gunned down for one reason or another. Some will be murder; others will be in self-defense.
They’ll all remind us that we live in a terribly sinful world where lives are lost and families are broken apart. So often we’ll not be able to make sense of what happened or why; yet, we should not compound the tragedies by resorting to violence or destructive behavior. Such actions only compound and confuse the tragedy; they do nothing to correct it.
Again, only God (and George Zimmerman) know what happened that night of February 20 in a Florida residential area. Only God knows if Zimmerman acted in self-defense or cold-blooded murder.
But, I know this: There is a Day of Reckoning when Almighty God will make all things right. Although He allows evil to flourish for a season right now, it doesn’t mean He’s unconcerned, malevolent or missing-in-action. It simply means that He gives us the freedom to choose and holds us account for the decisions/actions that we make.
Here’s praying the “God of all comfort” (II Corinthians 3:1ff) will be with the Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman families. And, may He help each one of us to do what we can to make life better, not bitter, lest we, too, become part of the on-going American Tragedy of turning our backs on Him.
To contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.