Searching Prejudicial Souls

zimmerman and martinProtests. Debates. Calls for reform. Soul searching. The Zimmerman/Martin case has ignited many fires–from simplistic objections to the verdict (which given the charge vs. evidence could hardly have turned out any other way) to profound observations by even the nation’s president and others regarding the subtle biases and prejudices that linger.

It’s easy for white people or others (Zimmerman is half Peruvian) to wonder why blacks protest at the verdict which came by clear adherence to the law as it related to the facts. It’s easy for black people to grow enraged at the whole system that appears okay on the surface but so often seems to work against them, along with a culture that in many ways has not shaken the racism that subtly influences the cases that come to surface.

So where is the heart and mind of God in this? Of course he would grieve. Beyond that, what does it mean when the Bible says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” In God’s eyes there is no black, white, hispanic, asian, or anything. We are to live as one people. But the fact is we don’t. This is where we go so wrong.

Legally, the outcome of this case was almost determined when prosecutors chose (perhaps under pressure) a second-degree murder charge rather than manslaughter, which carries much less burden of proof. Socially, the response to the verdict is understandable in light of the racism that African-Americans have so long faced. Biblically, it’s important for us to remember–whether we’re believers or not–that God takes no side. We are to take his side. But that can be dangerous to the personal and public worlds we build, which by our earthly nature tend to benefit us at the expense of others. The human heart builds such fortresses.

Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). The more people who do this, and give up their fortresses for the path of Jesus, the fewer Zimmerman / Martin cases we’ll have.


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