My heart breaks as I follow the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman tragedy. The death of this young man is a senseless killing. There are so many scenarios that could have prevented this from ever happening. I hurt for the families. I can’t imagine what Trayvon’s parents must be going through as they are forced to accept the horrible death of their son. There is also pain for the Zimmerman family, his wife and children are the victims on the other side. They are the collateral damage of hatred that is pointed at the husband and father. I even feel for George Zimmerman. If he is a vigilante…I pray for a man with that much hatred…if it was an accident…he will have to life with this for the rest of his life.
But there is a much bigger tragedy in all of this. What could be worse than the senseless death of this young man? What is worse than a man’s hatred or uttering racial slurs? As horrible as this is…there is a bigger problem.
People are lining up on both sides of the fence spewing hatred. Social media sites are blowing up, on both sides of this battle, with pictures and information that can’t possibly be true. The overload of information has gotten so bad that I don’t know the true details that happened that night…and neither do you. There is story after story with completely contradictory statements from supposedly “reliable” sources, but we have chosen sides and are now building our cases.
One side says Trayvon was a perfect child who was never part of any wrong doing in his life. Pictures of a cute little nine year old boy are broadcast to support their case. We learn that he was an A, B student…a football player. He was a child who was going to get Skittles and Iced Tea during halftime while he watched the NBA All-star game with his father. Zimmerman on the other hand is menace to society…a self-appointed sheriff…looking for someone to kill.
This side of the battle supports their case with pictures of Treyvon and Jesus. As Jesus puts a robe on his back the caption reads “This is Treyvon’s new hoodie”. The next picture is a side by side with a KKK hood and a young black man with a hoodie with the caption that reads “which hood looks suspicious to you?” This side is encouraging calls for “NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE” and tweeting the address of an elderly couple.
On the other side we have Trayvon as a troubled teen who was at his father’s girlfriend’s house because he was kicked out of school for drugs. They show social media pictures of a rough looking kid in a wife beater who is flipping off the camera. Zimmerman is made out to be a hero who was defending himself from a thug who attacked him for trying to protect his neighborhood. There are stories of him helping to make an arrest and stopping a crime earlier this year.
The big question is – Who wins from all this hatred? This hatred is being used by people on both sides of the fence to polarize and divide us. This hatred is tearing down many of the bridges of reconciliation that have been built but are far from complete. We are pressured to choose sides but the reality is that neither side is worried about the truth…they are only worried about winning. They are doing their best to score points at all costs and get people riled up for their side of the fight. Unfortunately, Christians have fallen into the trap and are firmly planting their feet on both sides.
But where is Jesus in all of this? Jesus calls for justice. Jesus calls us to stand up and speak for victims.
Jesus died for Trayvon Martin…and Jesus died for George Zimmerman. Jesus calls us to unity. Jesus calls us to peace and Jesus is not found in hatred. Does Jesus call us to divide? Does He call us to choose sides in matters who know little about? Does Jesus endorse the hatred and calls for violence?
From national leaders to local leaders to those who sleep in the pews; Christians are making divisive statements and accusations. Asking…even cornering people to choose a side. They claim to represent Christ, but that is not the Jesus that I know and read about and you are not representing Him. And if you are not representing Christ…then who are you representing?
I am asking…even begging Christians to stop. Quit spewing the hatred. Quit trying to put up provocative posts and tweets that get people to visit your page, follow your tweets or join your side (whichever motive suits you best). Just shut up. Stop the fighting and dividing and pray. Pray for justice. Pray for peace. Pray that Christ will be glorified. Pray that His Kingdom will come and His Will will be done.
Because if this is not a “WIN” for Jesus then who is really benefiting from the hate?