Over recent weeks, the George Zimmerman trial has been at the forefront of news headlines, social media, water cooler discussions and conversations amongst family and friends in the United States. Frankly, since the death of Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, many have been consumed with whether or not Zimmerman is guilty or not guilty.
When the verdict was read on Saturday evening, the reaction of millions could immediately be heard and seen throughout the country. The support, as well as the opposition was expressed with fervor. The initial reaction in my own home and from my family and friends was equally passionate. Taking in the feelings of others seen on television and the thoughts of those on Twitter that evening weighed on my heart. Where I could understand that everyone had the right to their own opinion and also clear on how we could end up on different sides of our take on what actually happened; what burdened me the most was the realization that the majority (if not all) of us were missing out on an opportunity…to be different.
As I replayed in my mind so much of what I’d read and heard about the incident and the trial over the weekend, God placed the need to talk to Him about it on my heart. At first, I assumed He solely desired that I pray for the comfort of the family that lost their 17 year old young man. I cannot fathom the emotions they have experienced, and at that time, felt that it was our responsibility to cover their hearts with as much intensity as we expressed our positions on what they were going through. As I began to go in on my prayer, I realized the need for much more.
As many of us wondered whether or not violence would play a role in the response to the trial’s outcome, and as many debates continue to occur on whether or not race has been or remains a factor, the necessity for forgiveness is prevalent. Therefore, as we move forward this week and in the upcoming days; and even as the interest and enthusiasm of this trial may waiver, I charge us all to be different in our response to the Zimmerman trial.
When drawn to share our opinion on the subject at hand, let’s instead choose to seek and ask for a heart of forgiveness – forgiveness for our own judgements of the prosecution, defense and families, and forgiveness between the Martins and Zimmermans for one another. When reading or watching news updates from witnesses, juror interviews, and more, let’s elect to think and act with a heart of compassion. Then, no matter what side we are on, we can walk in freedom from our own thoughts of disappointment, pride, resentment, anger, revenge, hatred, doubt and/or fear. We can truly be the difference He’s called us to be – and through Him love our neighbors and our enemies selflessly, and as ourselves (Matthew 22:39, Matthew 5:44).