The Gospel Coalition

The verdict is in. George Zimmerman has been found not guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The reactions have been strong and may only become more intense and polarizing as analysis of the case continues to roll in. Some believed justice has been done; others that injustice has been committed.

Regardless of the reaction, this remains certain: Trayvon Martin is dead, a mom and dad will never see their son again, and Zimmerman's life will never be the same.

We Mourn


"Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY"

That was the tweet that Tracy Martin, father of Trayvon Martin, sent out within an hour of the verdict. His sentiment resonates with any parent. The deep pain and sorrow can never be fully expressed. As Christians we respond not according to media manipulation but by Scripture, and God's Word encourages us to mourn with Martin's family.

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" (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.

And We Pray for Zimmerman


George Zimmerman's life will never be the same. The jury has declared him not guilty, but for many observers he will forever be a cold-blooded murderer. His name is ruined. He killed an unarmed teenager. It must haunt him at times to remember the moment that he can never take back. Zimmerman needs Jesus. Zimmerman needs to know today that if he died without knowing the saving work of Christ, this tumultuous life is nothing compared to the wrath that awaits him. He needs to know that his sin, not in part but the whole, can be forgiven if he trusts in Jesus. We don't know if he is a Christian, but we should be praying for his salvation and his safety. The trial may have ended, but we pray that if for any reason he lied about what happened that day, he would confess and seek forgiveness. In light of the jury's decision, if it is correct, we should pray that Zimmerman finds peace.

This case has already reopened important discussions about race relations in America. We should, therefore, also pray for our nation as we continue to pursue racial reconciliation and harmony. As old hurts have resurfaced, we must seek to understand if we want to be understood. Let's pray for just laws and more than surface change. We ask God for gospel transformation that leads us to accept and love one another regardless of ethnicity. With this posture of prayer, our ongoing discussions of race and culture will assume a posture of humility and grace.

Before long another confusing and dreadful situation will become a national news story. Most of us will know details only secondhand, though we'll be expected to offer an opinion. So we must look first to the Word to be informed by God's timeless guidance. And we will mourn with those who mourn as we pray without ceasing.


Comments:

alli

July 24, 2013 at 08:19 AM

First of all im not condemning zimmerman and he was not defending himself bc he started that altercation. Most people who heard those 911 tapes know zimmerman was far from innocent that night. He was looking for trouble.Whether or not he deserved to get beat up...well ill leave that alone. But zimmerman tried to act all innocent in front of the cameras after he messed up so you gonna act like trayvon bhind closed doors then when you face all the respectable white with jobs you are now suddenly an upstanding citzen out fighting crime. Um sorry try again im not a fool. This is not about self defense but a system that favors certain sins like partiality or disencions but judges the poor. Zimmerman got off bc trayvon prolly did beat him up and he's lucky.

alli

July 24, 2013 at 08:07 AM

I feel in my gut this wasnt all trayvons fault (typo) how you gonna acost me in my neighborhood, then shoot me after you started a fight, because now your losing, get a bandaid put on your head and then go home. Excuse me...thats really irresponsiblevin Gods kingdom, there is no real self defense...its called murder.

i think there was a reason trayvon felt the need to fight. Any people can say what they want there wasnt something quite right about all this and i think money and race privelege won over justice.

alli

July 24, 2013 at 08:02 AM

This is also another scenario i have thought of, was trayvon just "getting into it" i believe that to judge him tho and say none cost "me" my life seems a bit callous esp since trayvon didnt get to tell him story and you i guess are judging him based on what You know and have experienced with young men. Still i dont feel in my gut this was all trayvons fault..some of it was..so to say you get what you get doesnt really apply.many people feel that zimmerman started this fight we know it. He expect to get tackled, but to say you can confront someone start a fight and then shoot someone to "defend" yourself is a bit sketchy if you ask me. If trayvon randomly attacked some dude or just was beefing i can understand you fight someone you may lose. But to be approached in the rain by someone you dont know..if you would not judge him for five minutes you would see the injustice in this case.

JS

July 24, 2013 at 07:57 AM

12 Questions for My White Conservative Friends re: Trayvon Martin

After years of simmering quietly, the furor over Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman threatens to blow the dome off the volcano of civil rights and racism within America. Thankfully most of the surface demonstrations remain peaceful. But under the crust of cultural convention a ruthless river of fire flows within the anglo community. As I listen to my white, conservative colleagues spewing and venting through social media and talk radio, I marvel at our intemperate ability to exercise discretion; I'm slack-jawed at our unsympathetic refusal to listen and learn from our black brothers and sisters, and I wonder how we expect to live on the jagged landscape that will eventually form around our molten arguments. With the topography of tomorrow in mind, I offer twelve questions for my white friends, family, political and Kingdom allies today.

1. How exactly do we hope that "shouting down" our hurt and angry black brothers and sisters will help us to maintain a shared voice with them re: other important social, moral and spiritual issues?

2. Especially in this volatile episode, why do we feel the incessant need to point out the splinter in our brothers' eyes, while... (do I need to finish this question)?

3. Do we know who Bildad is and what his voice sounds like?

4. What was going through Trayvon Martin's mind as he turned toward George Zimmerman?

5. Is there another kind of "morality" that our communities might hope to establish besides a "legally enforced morality"?

6. How is the enemy of our souls (and our communities) baiting us with this sad and tragic episode?

7. Who or what has the authority to tell us that it's time for us to get beyond the race issue?

8. Is there anything the first black president of the United States of America is saying that we retain some meekness toward?

9. In what way are we living (1 Peter 3:8) in this circumstance? Finally, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, affectionate, compassionate, and humble.

10. How exactly does one defend oafish vigil-anti behavior and abide with Jesus?

11. What is the meaning of solidarity? Is there any opportunity for the cultivating more of it through this episode with our black brothers and sisters?

12. What if, instead of calling 911, Zimmerman had simply offered Trayvon Martin a ride home out of the rain that night?

Kyle

July 24, 2013 at 06:53 AM

But according to Good's eyewitness testimony, Trayvon won the fight, was on top, beating Zimmerman, and was asked to stop as Zimmerman called for help. He declined and kept throwing punches.

How do you justify this? And knowing this, how can you still condemn Zimmerman for defending himself?

Kyle

July 24, 2013 at 06:45 AM

We *know* from eyewitness Good's testimony that Trayvon was on top of Zimmerman, beating his head with his fists, and did not respond to Good's plea to stop hitting the man below him.

We may never *know* what happened before that, but does it really matter? At that point, Good provided Trayvon with a choice to stop relentlessly beating the man who *allegedly* profiled and stalked him. Even if you assume GZ did do those things (which I personally doubt) it's still the responsibility of the person on top to stop when you have already won the fight.

It is also our responsibility as a society to support the right of the person on the bottom to defend themselves. Everyone imagines the scenario from the perspective of the parents of Trayvon, but what about the parents of Zimmerman? How long would you want your child to get punched in the face with their head bashing against the concrete before they tried to defend themselves?

David

July 20, 2013 at 10:39 AM

It could be possible he felt he had no choice but to fight. If true, he made a poor choice. I was 17 once and made many poor choices myself. None cost me my life, but they could have.

Getting into a random fight a block from your house and threatening to kill someone was very normal back in the day, and we weren't even that bad. If you think its unlikely you are a bit naive. This happens all the time. Sometimes you pay dearly for this kind of pride and sin. I have seen it happen.

A guy on my block was shot dead for demanding an apology from a stranger. We jumped kids for no other reason than we were bored. Male pride, sin nature and the city are dangerous circumstances.

I wasn't there and neither were you. We can "what if" all day but thats a waste of time. Two lives are ruined. God is and will be just in both cases.

[...] is also our hope as we think through all of this that you will pray for the Martin and Zimmerman families. Pray that they might all trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. We will all one day stand [...]

[...] happening within Evangelicalism. This week, at The Gospel Coalition blog I read Trilla Newbell’s Not Guilty: Now What? regarding an aftermath perspective of the situation. Secondly, I read at The Christian Post where [...]

Alex Guggenheim

July 19, 2013 at 07:35 AM

The court recognizes hands, fists, feet and any other relevant body part as weapons and lethal weapons.

shawn h

July 19, 2013 at 02:14 PM

Heather, your comment assumes that the community watch group's purpose was to track down and kill anyone who steals their property. That is not the purpose. If people continue to steal the items that you have purchased for you and your families use and/or pleasure, would you continue to let them or would you do something about protecting what is yours? If you did decide to prevent previous robber from repeating and they pulled a gun on you, what would you do then? What if they pulled a gun on one of your children?

shawn h

July 19, 2013 at 02:04 PM

Heather, as I understand the event, Mr. Zimmerman did not have his gun pulled as he was looking for Mr. Martin. Conceal and carry courses do not teach how to hunt someone with a pulled weapon. They are self-defense tools. If Mr. Martin knew Mr. Zimmerman had a gun, would he not have disposed of that first instead of hitting him MMA style?

Heather Carrillo

July 18, 2013 at 10:48 AM

That has absolutely zero things to do with this case. Unless you were saying Zimmerman was acting like a Christian when he...killed someone. Please don't be saying that.
And it's funny that you say Christians are going to be the persecuted minority, since for a while now black people (particularly their young men) have been a persecuted minority. Maybe based on this you should have some more compassion.

Heather Carrillo

July 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Truer words have never been spoken @alli! (Well, except for in the bible of course) Why are people so bent out of shape about their property that they'd kill someone? If someone is stealing something from you, is that worth killing them? I say no!

Heather Carrillo

July 18, 2013 at 10:40 AM

How much did you honor the decision of the court when they said OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony were not guilty. Did you wholeheartedly believe it? I mean, as Christians we are to serve God and honor the emperor, not unquestioningly condone everything our nation does.

Heather Carrillo

July 18, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Pretty sure that's not a thing. "Unarmed" means you don't have a weapon. I am just about positive you made up the thing about fists.

Heather Carrillo

July 18, 2013 at 10:32 AM

But he did actually kill an unarmed teenager...

Heather Carrillo

July 18, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Also OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony.

Heather Carrillo

July 18, 2013 at 10:29 AM

We don't actually *know* that happened Esther. And if it did, someone was after me with a gun I might start fighting back and screaming at them too. In the past the justice system has made several verdicts (OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony come to mind) that have been questionable at best. I wouldn't be too quick to swallow everything they feed you.
But I think the point of this amazing article is we need to back away from the emotions and our preconceived ideas about who Treyvon was and mourn with the family and pray for George Zimmerman.

The True Tragedy of the Trayvon Case |

July 18, 2013 at 06:33 AM

[...] and questions are happening as a result of this case. The Gospel Coalition is asking, “Not Guilty. Now What?” They share some valid and practical points. SBC Voices is asking “Was Justice Served?” and [...]

alli

July 18, 2013 at 06:14 PM

what if trayvon was fighting because he thought zimmerman was going to come and hurt his family. He didn't KNOW this man.

IF Zimmerman was going back to his car how do we know trayvon didn't think he was going to get a gun. Living in the hood and being a black man is VERY dangerous.
Zimmerman has already shown he doesn't obey police officers. what if, just what if you're wrong.

alli

July 18, 2013 at 06:08 PM

this morning sybrina fulton was on the today show and she said that it is possible that trayvon didn't run home because he didn't want to man to follow him home. What would i do, call the police when i live with the mindset they don't come anyway or handle the situation myself. Hmm?

Wow. Could it be that trayvon 'felt' he had no choice to fight because he didn't know this man and he could possibly harm his family. Wow. I wont pretend to know what's in someone's head, but getting into a random fight a block away from your house and threatening to kill someone didn't make a WHOLE lot of sense to me, esp if you have no criminal record and your father is home. either way it makes this story even more of a tragedy.

[...] Not Guilty: Now What? –Trillia Newbell, @ The Gospel Coalition This case has already reopened important discussions about race relations in America. We should, therefore, also pray for our nation as we continue to pursue racial reconciliation and harmony. As old hurts have resurfaced, we must seek to understand if we want to be understood. Let’s pray for just laws and more than surface change. We ask God for gospel transformation that leads us to accept and love one another regardless of ethnicity. With this posture of prayer, our ongoing discussions of race and culture will assume a posture of humility and grace. [...]

Paul

July 17, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Alli, you are saying that Zimmerman (who is not a Christian) should have been obeying the commands of the Bible and not kill Martin. But you are a Christian, and you can't forgive Zimmerman for his mistake, then how could you have expected Zimmerman to have behaved in a Christian way? If you say you are a Christian, then forgive Zimmerman and pray for his soul, he is as much a person who needs Christ as Martin did and if you still keep siding with Martin who was also a sinner, then you are not showing Christ's character. You are siding with Martin because he is your brother by race, but Zimmerman is also an equal sinner who deserves pardon. Christ came to save Zimmerman as much as he would have come to save Martin. So if you want to act Christian, please give up this fight about injustice and pray for the souls of the lost, even Mr. Zimmerman!

Paul

July 17, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Seth, you are right on target. I could not have put it better. Saddens me that even Christians have let the media influence their thoughts rather than the Bible. The court made a right decision based on evidence and facts. People are deciding based on emotions. The court was not corrupt and made the best decision based on evidence. And as Christians we have to honor the decision of the court, and not honor the media by giving attention to what they are trying to instill in our minds!

Paul

July 17, 2013 at 11:37 AM

ABC is known to be a liberal channel like MSNBC which distorted Zimmerman's words to make it appear racial. People are not even complaining or even looking at how hard the media has tried to make this look racially motivated. They keep ignoring even such evident efforts by the media? And keep falling into it. Don't let the media control your heart, but let God control your heart? The early Christians joyfully surrendered their lives at the arena, even though they were tortured. And we Christians can't live in this age peacefully, because the media is stirring up our hearts about injustice? What kind of Christians are we? Influenced by the Bible or the Media?

[...] and have nothing to add to the many fine pieces that have already been written (see, for example, Trillia Newbell’s post). And as for the latter, I’m a pastor who longs to see the gospel break down old (and high) [...]

Paul

July 17, 2013 at 07:19 PM

Remember, the media targets Christians just as much they target Zimmerman. Christians are going to be the minority and a time is going to come when we have to endure hardship when people who stand against our faith are going to persecute us. Are you going to cry racism or peacefully endure hardship as a true disciple. Remember, we as Christians are going to be targeted soon for our beliefs and may God give us grace to endure as a true witness and rejoice even in sufferings, so we may shine as lights in a dark world. Christians should always be the peacemakers, even when they are wronged, instead of being the revolutionists. Remember, Christ endured the cross, though it was totally unjust that he should be punished for no sin of his own, but he endured the cross for our joy. So we as true Christians should endure hardship for God's glory!

Teresa Mower

July 17, 2013 at 03:54 AM

Well said Tom.... Thank you

alli

July 17, 2013 at 03:12 PM

To your comment about giving up the fight for injustice i suggest you read the book of amos..God cares about the concerns of the poor and less about making our lives comfortable. Trayvon was also his son, just bc he lost his life doesnt necessary make him a worse sinner, sir. abel lost his life and one coukd argue closer to God that cain was..we are ALL His children i mean im just saying.

alli

July 17, 2013 at 03:03 PM

Forgive me for being harsh however you are assuming i didnt pray for zimmerman herein lies the problem.i will pray for mercy for him bc he has been in trouble with the law before and his soul could b in danger perhaps trayvon was already saved.

alli

July 17, 2013 at 02:58 PM

I most definately can forgive zimmerman, first of all i am NOT siding with martin because he is my race i am siding with GOD i am DEfEending martin because he is a CHILD and it seems white people care more about their own child then ours. It seems sir that you are siding with zimmerman because you feel crime is out of control and YOU feel you shoukd b sble to defend yourself. Im saying you really dont Zimmerman stepped out of the covering of the law when he defied police instructions abd confront a man he thought was a robber and even lied to police and said Trayvon had a gun when he clearly did not. You feel that i am suspicious and racist and you know nothing about me. And i am white ( and blk)how about that for being impartial. Im sure you didnt know that and seeing as i am white and black i am very aware of white bias in this case tgey forget florida is afraid of black people there bc they brought them from haiti and senegal and made then second class citizens. You wanna stop having to defend yourself against crime help a fellow brother out and turn him into a friend instead of an enemy. But that will never happen because u judged trayvon in his heart for his sin without seeing your own. Its called partiality in james look it up. I have defended Zimmerman even this this is entirely His own fault. Please dont tell me you are prolife when urban boys die everyday due to fatherless where they woukdnt even be in country apart from white people. Further the number of african doctors novelists and politicians are proof that crime is not endemic to being of brown hue it has to do with the culture of fatherlessness in this nation and a lack of mercy from legal institutions which are predominately white. If you want to cure crime repent and consider your neighbor. But i really doubt God is gonna let this man wipe his feet esp of the killing of a child and walk away see URIAH in the bible God had a purpose for him too. You tired of blacks complaining be the solution to the problem instead of complaining and calling it the boogeyman in tge room that doesnt exist.

alli

July 17, 2013 at 02:41 PM

Sorry teresa directed comment at wrong person

alli

July 17, 2013 at 02:40 PM

Maam with all due respect you do not seem to exhibit the gift or mercy

Beatrice

July 17, 2013 at 01:04 PM

I am so tired of this case.

I am so tired that people just calling it a racist crime cannot look to any of the facts, beyond that it was a "white" man with a gun and a black unarmed youngster.

I am tired of the way the media has manipulated this situation. I am tired of the big party they have had with this tragedy, of how they have manipulated the information and emotions of our country.

I am tired of the celebrities and their two cents.

I am heartbroken for Trayvon's mother. I am heartbroken by the situation the Zimmermans are also left in.

I am heartbroken to read about the hispanic man beaten in Baltimore by black teeangers and the white man beaten, also by a group of young black men, in Wisconsin.
I am heartbroken and tired of all the hateful messages in the internet.

alli

July 16, 2013 at 12:32 PM

the ABC episode of "what would you do?"

the white bike thief versus the black bike thief illustrates why many are blind about the judgements towards young black men for whom God also has a plan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0kV_b3IK9M

it shows why this case is a tragedy.

[...] Guilty: Now What? – The Gospel Coalition Blog thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013… via @TGC - 1 day ago Follow @JeffKRossLinkedIn Profile Pinterest Subscribe to RSS [...]

Julia

July 16, 2013 at 11:14 AM

Well said, Mark.
May we love with the love of Christ and faithfully run the race set before us.

I Timothy 1:5

Racism, Trayvon and my kids | Owlhaven

July 16, 2013 at 10:32 AM

[...] I do believe that most folks want to treat people fairly, that they’d like to be a part of the solution instead of part of the problem. If that’s you, then here’s a great place to start:  Not Guilty: Now What?  [...]

Zimmerman, Race and Law | Rescuing Jesus

July 16, 2013 at 09:56 AM

[...] and have nothing to add to the many fine pieces that have already been written (see, for example,Trillia Newbell’s post). And as for the latter, I’m a pastor who longs to see the gospel break down old (and high) [...]

Lou G.

July 16, 2013 at 08:58 AM

Wrong, Esther. That is why the commandments state: Thou shalt not murder. People kill, unfortunately. In war. In self-defense. Reasons that totally contradict your theory.

Kara

July 16, 2013 at 08:38 AM

Thank you.

[...] -Trillia Newbell, “Not Guilty: Now What?” [...]

Nick

July 16, 2013 at 07:47 AM

Dave, no matter how many times you say something, that does not make it true. I do not understand why you and others keep saying the boy was "innocent" and "unarmed." The facts of the case, agreed upon by the jury after weeks of trial, do not agree. It is shameful for you to keep repeating these things.

If a person is using their fists as a weapon, they are no longer "unarmed." And if a person provokes their own killing, they are not innocent. Unless your argument is that the court is corrupt (and in which case, make THAT argument), you and those like you are not telling the truth. Be truthful.

Alex Guggenheim

July 16, 2013 at 06:58 AM

Tray on was not simply walking home when he was shot he was violently assaulting a man and the evidence fits George Zimmerman's narrative from the start. At least get the narrative accurate in your objection.

[...] and have nothing to add to the many fine pieces that have already been written (see, for example, Trillia Newbell’s post). And as for the latter, I’m a pastor who longs to see the gospel break down old (and high) [...]

[...] Newbell’s piece, “Not Guilty: What Now?,” is an exceptionally fine example of how we should respond to both the Martin family and George [...]

[...] http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/07/14/not-guilty-now-what/ [...]

Dave Schmidt

July 16, 2013 at 03:11 AM

No other cases or hypothetical situations will change that fact that a innocent unarmed boy was killed. Our prayers should be with his family.

Racism is a very real part of American culture. Its been that way since its conception. We must not minimize or undermine fellow Americans experiences with racism to "lazily falling back on racism" for it lacks compassion and empathy. We must pray that the Lord rids the South and the rest of this country from the horrible spirit of racism.

[...] Trillia Newbell, on the Gospel Coalition [...]

Darwin

July 15, 2013 at 12:55 PM

My thoughts about the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. http://darwinbullock.com/2013/07/15/trayvon-martins-blood-on-my-hands/

Esther O'Reilly

July 15, 2013 at 12:10 PM

People seriously need to think about what they're implying here (I'm speaking of other writers and commenters, not Trillia, just to be clear). People are implying that *even if we grant that Zimmerman acted in self defense*, it was somehow more reasonable and more sympathetic for Trayvon to have attacked and beaten him than for Zimmerman to follow him in the first place. For one thing, they're assuming racial profiling, which has NOT been proven (we don't know what other factors Zimmerman was cuing to besides race---he's dealt with all races as a neighborhood watchman), and for another thing, they're somehow elevating the slightest possibility of racism as the greatest, vilest sin that could ever be committed. Viler even than directly attacking someone with intent to kill.

It's also just not true that the Sanford police are necessarily corrupt. The police make judgment calls *all the time, all over the country* about whether or not to arrest and have a trial in cases like this. It was *not* unusually suspicious or weird for there to have been a delay in Zimmerman's arrest, and it was *not* fair or normal for him to have to go through this legal process.

The fact is that this case blew up because the left wanted something that would fit a narrative, and they did their darnedest to make that shoe fit even when it was hopelessly slipping off. Everyone who participated in that should be ashamed and repentant.

Esther O'Reilly

July 15, 2013 at 11:16 AM

In the Platonic, strictly literal sense, it is true. However, ordinarily when we say "So-and-so killed an unarmed person," that's naturally and commonly interpreted to mean "Therefore the other person was a victim" or "Therefore the blame lies at the feet of the armed person" or "Therefore there wasn't just cause." I think we need to choose our words extremely carefully here. Other phrases I've seen include speculating whether Zimmerman will "walk," and saying that he "gunned down" Trayvon. It fits together in a pattern. I believe Trillia has written a more balanced piece than many others, however, anyone who weighs in must tread cautiously to avoid giving a misleading impression.

Esther O'Reilly

July 15, 2013 at 11:13 AM

I apologize Trillia, for not catching that. Thank you for drawing that to my attention.

Esther O'Reilly

July 15, 2013 at 11:10 AM

If that minor is big and strong enough to tackle and mercilessly beat a grown man, while screaming death threats at him, then I think that man is fully within his rights to defend himself.

Anonymous 2

July 15, 2013 at 09:48 AM

The fact that GZ "killed an unarmed teenager" IS misleading if that statement is divorced from the fact that he was being beat up by a physically superior person (regardless of age) and acted in self-defense.

Eric

July 15, 2013 at 08:59 PM

http://antiordinary74.blogspot.com/2013/07/three-reasons-to-give-thanks-for.html

Peterson Onyeukwu

July 15, 2013 at 08:11 AM

It's an emotional reaction because its outrageous. I completely disagree with your comments. The fact that the law allows a man to fire a gun at a minor, in an altercation that he initiated and walk away from that conflict without being placed in prison speaks more about our silly system of justice here in the US.

Peterson Onyeukwu

July 15, 2013 at 07:40 AM

No I would argue that Zimmerman's pursuit of a young black man in a hoodie, presents a societal prejudice that is unfortunately built on racism. That we would presume all theives wear hoodies would cause us to ignore all sorts of white-collar crimes in this country. Racism is alive and well in this country, and its closer than you think.

anonymous

July 15, 2013 at 07:39 AM

“we pray without ceasing”
“we weep with those who weep”
“we cry out to God for comfort and faith”
“we pray for Zimmerman; for his salvation,safety,confession, seek forgiveness; that he finds peace.”
“we pray for our nation to pursue reconciliation and harmony; for just laws,more than surface change.”
“we ask God for gospel transformation “

thank you, really appreciated your list, applicable always

there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.

knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation…we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Tom

July 15, 2013 at 07:32 AM

I read the article, but I'm not sure "Sanford County's pattern of unequal scales" has been proven. Before we get too far down the road on this, I think we need to first substantiate these claims of injustice or oppression.

[...] George Zimmerman Not Guilty; Now What? (The Gospel Coalition) [...]

Mark

July 15, 2013 at 06:50 AM

Yesterday, I was blessed to go to an African American Baptist church in Philadelphia, and the case was mentioned much to the sadness, dismay, and groaning of the congregation. I felt for that moment that this case was more than just a case, they felt that one of their own was lost to the sea of racial injustice,that life was not valued.

I felt rocked at the moment because of my lack of perception into their lives. Racism will never be truly dead until the day the Lord Jesus comes and wipes it out. Until then, we as the church, individually and corporately, must preach that evil can only be evicted from our hearts through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, through regeneration of the Holy Spirit...and listen to our black brethren and sisters.

We gotta tread carefully in seeing two parties who argue two different things...and as believers, like the author states, see things from a Bibical perspective. Someone lost a son and a friend, someone's life will never be the same, as Newbell says. All need Christ.

alli

July 15, 2013 at 05:01 PM

The conversation no one wants to hear http://purityandprose.wordpress.com/2013/07/15/not-guilty-doesnt-mean-not-sinless-the-conversation-about-the-zimmerman-case-no-one-wants-to-hear/

[...] See also pieces by Thabiti Anyabwile, “A Personal Take in the Aftermath of Trayvon Martin and the Zimmerman Verdict” and Trillia Newbell, “Not Guilty: Now What?“ [...]

JS

July 15, 2013 at 04:33 AM

"The community I'm praying for is one where George Zimmerman offers Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain."
Your Kingdom come, Jesus!

Katy Sammons

July 15, 2013 at 04:08 PM

Just glancing at the comments makes me weary. Thank you, Trillia, for focusing on what is TRUE.

Links I like | Blogging Theologically

July 15, 2013 at 04:01 AM

[...] Not Guilty: Now What? [...]

[...] But instead, I see white folks on Facebook cracking jokes, minimizing the Martins’ pain, and trying to justify Zimmerman’s highly questionable actions. Disturbingly, some of these people are my brothers and sisters in Christ. Whatever happened that night, consider what has happened to the African-American community, many of whom worship the same Jesus we worship, or we desire they might. Given that Paul says in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek in Christ (Gal. 3:28), let’s take Paul’s admonition to mourn with those who mourn (Rom. 12:15) as Tricia Newbell helpfully reminded us today. [...]

Ellie Gunderson

July 15, 2013 at 03:30 AM

Your use of the words "real injustice" here show me that you could not have possibly read this article with an open heart. If the "real injustice" happened to the individual who is still alive, then I'm at a loss for words.

Worth a Look 7.15.13 – Trevin Wax

July 15, 2013 at 02:58 AM

[...] Newbell – Not Guilty. Now What? Regardless of the reaction, this remains certain: Trayvon Martin is dead, a mom and dad will never [...]

alli

July 15, 2013 at 02:14 PM

only GOD can judge the value or worth of a man's or child's soul and whether he lives(esp a child) it is not our job to do that. Zimmerman made that decision for Him. he is not GOD. thanks

alli

July 15, 2013 at 02:00 PM

I respectfully disgree

Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. ecc 8:11

they were both wrong, but Zimmerman is 'wronger' I will tell you why. Trayvon was a minor. Zimmerman DID have a criminal record.

the jury may have decided but but do you honestly think God is gonna let him get away with killing a kid. Even if the kid was one YOU didn't like or thought deserved mercy. Justice would say was a crime committed and does the punishment fit the crime.

a 17 is "accused" of attempted murder while walking home to his home in the rain, was killed.(because that's the ONLY reason for killing self -defense)

There is a little proof

Do you think God is gonna let that fly? I mean really. Trayvon got his, but Zimmerman He wiped his feet on the carpet at the police station after shooting him as if he had done nothing wrong. God doesn't make a distinction between a nice murder or a non nice one.

Murder begins with a lack of love in the heart.

BUT God is a defender of the poor so im not worried. And while you may not agree with his(trayvon's) lifestyle he was technically still a minor.

There was a women who killed her father because he was abusing her. She went to jail. READ: she went to jail. She didn't instigate the abuse he did. Now if she went to jail because he was doing a horrible thing to her what makes Zimmerman or ANYBODY feel like they can take someones life even the neighborhood was being robbed or not. I think God is teaching him a lesson.

The fact is even as horrible as you feel the father who abused her was ONLY GOD can decide whether he stays or goes. And as for it being blacks at fault for their own crimes. THE MINUTE Zimmerman disobeyed police orders HE put himself in harms way. DID he KNOW trayvon was a robber, why is he getting out of his car? IS he the POLICE did he KNOW something about TRAYVON they didn't? IF trayvon was a threat im sure they would KNOW that. HE was innocent. NOT SINLESS, but innocent. He was being PROFILED and accused of a crime he didnt commit. the ONLY thing that matters was DID he threaten a man who was threaten and CLEARLY profiling him.

He disobeyed the LAW which said WE DONT need to do FOLLOW HIM so HE PUT himself in harms way but failing to honor the command. NOW someone is dead. So he not PAY for that at ALL. Should a DRUNK DRIVER who didnt INTENTIONALLY KILL someone NOT go to jail because he didnt mean to do it. If trayvon attacked him and was the first to fight then well there's nothing you can do. Especially if someone has a gun.

BOTH are at fault, BC taking matters into your own hands could get you killed. BUT ZIMMERMAN is an adult and should KNOW better. Thanks

alli

July 15, 2013 at 01:05 PM

the truth is NONE of us know what really happened. Yes you have a right to defend your 'property' but is that really Christ like. It says if you enemy wants what you have give it to him..I believe however that murder starts in the heart. If you are ANGRY with your brother for ANY reason of then a GODLY one you are already a murderer whether you pull the trigger or not. Situations like these bring out whats ALREADY in the heart. MY issue however is I BELIEVE that to instigate a confrontation is different than protecting your neighborhood. AND teenagers are still teenagers regardless of they're teenagers in your neighborhood or in chicago, there teenagers. they do bad stuff. perhaps zimmerman didn't know he was confronting a teenager. But compassion says we are to not JUDGE our brothers. everyone in their heart knows a crime was committed that night whether it was in the law books or not.The crime of judging mr zimmerman as WELL as judging Trayvon martin. The LAW is allowing men to marry so unless the law is based on GOD's law it is really mute. I feel there is a bias in this country towards those who have money and influence, but we cannot judge mr, zimmerman either. HOWEVER honestly I deal with troubled teens all the time so for me I am a little less sympathic with the adults in this case.If you do what is right and deal with the youth you wont have as many problems in your neighborhood. Be a part of the solution instead of crying about why this kids are doing whatever. And yes i know we feel the boy did something wrong (whether proven or no) but if you are the responsible over 18 party unless you are a mass murderer type of kid (which i dont think he was) then I would say mercy is still in order. He lost his life and you have yours. God is NOT gonna just let that fly.So if zimmerman thought GOD was going to allow him to get away with shooting a kid (unless truly by accident) he was really tripping. Sorry.

Anar

July 14, 2013 at 11:46 PM

Don't forget to pray for the media! To me that is a central part of the story. How they present it, the narrative they tell, how they influence people, what they emphasize, what they de-emphasize, etc.

B.R.

July 14, 2013 at 10:59 PM

I've been thinking similar things, but instead of considering whether Zimmerman got away with murder (which would be true only if there was some sort of obstruction of justice, such as false testimony, that no one is aware of)I think the question that we have to ask ourselves and bring to our policymakers is: Is this the kind of killing that we, as a society, want to justify?

This verdict certainly won't deter anyone in a similar situation from shooting to kill. Do we want that to be deterred? If so, the law or the way it is administered must change.

Another related point is that this situation is not an anomaly. Christena Cleveland writes so very well about this http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2013/july/3-things-privileged-christians-can-learn-from-trayvon-marti.html

and here is a similar situation that also happened in FL that isn't getting much press: http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2013-04-09/story/michael-dunn-remains-adamant-police-interview-after-killing-jordan-davis

B.R.

July 14, 2013 at 10:29 PM

Respectfully, I must point out that "he killed an unarmed teenager" is not misleading (and in this context does not seem to have been said with arrogance) as it is an undisputed fact. George Zimmerman did kill Martin, who was a teenager and there is no evidence that he was actually carrying any weapon.

B.R.

July 14, 2013 at 10:21 PM

Amen!

shawn h

July 14, 2013 at 10:11 PM

Esther, couldn't agree more.

[...] http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/07/14/not-guilty-now-what/ [...]

Stephen

July 14, 2013 at 09:59 PM

Esther, I agree with your comment fully. Zimmerman is marked and I hope for his safety. However, the statement "he killed an unarmed teenager" is neither arrogant nor misleading. That's what happened, factually. Zimmerman killed a teenager who was unarmed at the time. It's not a pronunciation on motive or a judgement, it's a simple statement of fact.

Esther O'Reilly

July 14, 2013 at 09:17 PM

Thanks for sharing this perspective Ren J. Perhaps if more people like you speak up we can finally have a rational discussion about these issues instead of lazily falling back on racism.

Esther O'Reilly

July 14, 2013 at 09:15 PM

I agree with Nick. TC, I understand that you're having a strong emotional reaction to these events. But you need to pause and think for a moment about whether it's wise to let those emotions get in the way of actual truth and actual justice. The real injustice here was that Zimmerman was presumed guilty until proven innocent and dragged through this mess in the first place. And it's because of people eager to push their own agenda that this happened. Please think carefully about what you're saying by taking their side.

Jenny

July 14, 2013 at 09:11 PM

I agree with your comment completely!! It was refreshing reading your words!! :)

Jonathan McGuire

July 14, 2013 at 09:07 PM

Completely agree. However, consider: today, forensic evidence acts as a critical witness. And it all judged Zimmerman "not guilty."

Curt Day

July 14, 2013 at 08:59 PM

ForeBarca,
Do you understand the interrogative mood? See, the assertion I made was regarding the quality of the article. Everything else was a question so I neither made nor implied any declarations regarding Zimmerman and thus have spread neither lies nor half-truths.

In addition, questioning a jury's decision is always valid. So why are you up in arms?

JS

July 14, 2013 at 08:57 PM

Thank you for this gospel-centered compassionate article Trillia.
Listening to our black brothers and sisters this is what I ALSO know:
"All-the-more" they fear aggressive confrontation from both the lawful AND the lawless much much more than I.
As someone who yearns for Jesus' vision for His Bride and prays for His Kingdom to come here on earth, I also know that I'm not "OK" with this inequity...

Father, forgive us for our lack of love and insensitivity to the black community. Liberate me from my ethnocentric blindness. I have been deaf to my black brothers and sister's cries...

Seth Stowell

July 14, 2013 at 08:50 PM

I am depressed and angered by this whole deal. This case was never a racial issue until the media and President blew it up. The FBI has interviewed over 30 people affiliated with Zimmerman and there no indication at all of him being racist. I think the media just blew it up and others because that's what brings them big profits. I

I also don't think we give Satan enough credit. People in church seem to be just as divided over this. In the end I feel a lot of people put their politics and race over their Savior. Sad.

Peterson Onyeukwu

July 14, 2013 at 08:14 PM

Great articles all around on Ed Stetzer's blog:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2013/july/issue-is-justice-not-race.html

This issue is about systemic patterns of injustice in America. Christians in this country have a choice. And these are to just go along with this system completely ignoring the oppression of a people group (which usually is the reaction) or ask the right questions and demand answers for Sanford County's pattern of unequal scales in its society. The latter is rarely done by the strain of apathetic Christians in this country, who instead of loving justice, love comfort and hate being told that the country that they adore represents not the city on a hill but a cesspool of injustice.

Peterson Onyeukwu

July 14, 2013 at 07:49 PM

I think your comment puts the cart before the horse. Yes there is a great amount of crime in urban areas of our country, committed a by a majority of minorities. However, to speak of only the crimes committed without making mention to the systemic oppression against blacks in America, a systemic oppression that has not at all gone away is quite immature. The fact is that are only a few people group outside of blacks in this nation that have been systematically hunted and oppressed by the American government.

Tom

July 14, 2013 at 07:45 PM

I would hope that my black brothers and sisters would not look on the tragic circumstances of this case as a reason to feel disenfranchised and undervalued by whites. Considering 90% of murders of blacks are committed by other blacks (compared to 83% of murders of whites committed by other whites), it seems the black community is disenfranchising and undervaluing itself.

There is injustice. There is apathy. In this case, people wanted justice for Travon, and Saturday night they received justice. All the evidence was heard, examined, and weighed. A jury (agreed to by both the prosecution and defense) determined GZ was not guilty. But now, people don't want justice; they want to pin all their racial frustrations, stereotypes, and feelings to this case. That is not justice, but vengeance.

That being said, there are two hurting families and a hurting nation that need to see Christ-like love and forgiveness. Let us commit ourselves to demonstrating this to one another regardless of ethnicity.

Trillia

July 14, 2013 at 07:44 PM

I believe I do add that we pray for his "salvation and his safety." Thanks so much for bringing that to my attention just in case though...

The Long War

July 14, 2013 at 06:52 PM

[...] is the final paragraph from a pretty good little online essay, written by Trillia Newbell in response to the “not guilty” verdict in the trial of [...]

Ren J.

July 14, 2013 at 06:09 PM

CI am in total agreement that our prayers should be with both families. But as a Gospel believing black woman living in an "urban city" I am so very tired of the race issue. When it is crime committed'or alleged crime' by none black American on a black American. Day after day there are murders' robberies and all other kinds of crimes committed by blacks on blacks. Or young black men on other races. There was a very heinious crime committed by young white boys on a black man, yes it was racial.But not long afterwords two young black boys beat a elderly white man almost to death. This incident barely went noticed. Also in my neighborhood my husband has cosistently had to approach young black boys in hoodies late at night and he actually profiled these men who were breaking into our neighbors home. It was not racial profiling but he was profiling and was correct in that. I would agree that we don't know all the truth of that night. Could it be that two sinners were acting in sin. I also wonder and maybe I am wrong', but isn't racism sin and as long as we live in a fallen world there wil be racism and not just by every person who is none black

Esther O'Reilly

July 14, 2013 at 05:39 PM

I agree that we should pray for Zimmermann, but this article leaves out at least one important reason why: He is now a marked man. Countless people have literally called for his blood. He will be hunted for the rest of his life. It would not surprise me if Zimmermann were murdered (actually murdered) at some point in the future. We need to pray for his physical safety as well as his soul.

Furthermore, we do have convincing evidence that Zimmermann acted in self defense, not just his word, so to continue acting like we really have no idea what happened, or continue using phrases like "he killed an unarmed teenager," seems rather arrogant and misleading. Moreover, I would like to see some open apologies from people like Russell Moore, who carelessly lumped together the Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till cases as "brutal murders" as recently as two months ago. There is no resemblance between these two cases other than a young black man died in both of them. For Moore to have referred to an ongoing, complicated case as "a brutal murder" was foolish, damaging and presumptuous. Please apologize, Dr. Moore.

FOREBARCA

July 14, 2013 at 05:35 PM

Where in the verdict does it say that George Zimmerman committed murder? Why are you spreading lies, half-lies and untruths, Curt? And why is Trilla's response to your questions cast aspersions on George Zimmerman? Surely as citizens of two kingdoms we have to abide by the court ruling that George Zimmerman did not commit murder let alone manslaughter.

Nick

July 14, 2013 at 04:24 PM

TC, do you truthfully not see how what you are writing is hurtful? Your poem is only about race, but the problem is that the poem is tied to a real-life situation that does not fit the details of what you describe. But that is inconvenient for your narrative, so you keep writing regardless. That is not advancing this discussion.

Racism is real and still with us. I see it all the time. An inter-racial jury, after looking at a lot of evidence for weeks, decided that the narrative you tell in your poem is not true. It was not *just* his tan skin. The boy provoked his own killing. That was fairly decided with all the evidence present. Are you claiming corruption in the courtroom? But yet you're still going to write this?

Everything else about you makes it seem we would get along splendidly. But the gap in understanding here is depressing.

Brian Watson

July 14, 2013 at 03:49 PM

Michael,

Very good observations about the Old Testament.

Michael in Dublin

July 14, 2013 at 03:07 PM

It is interesting that the Old Testament offers cities of refuge to those Israelites who killed a fellow citizen without premeditation and hatred. Critics say the Old Testament was primitive and barbaric but in fact it was far more just and humane that we often are today. To find anyone guilty it was necessary to have two witnesses that did not contradict themselves. Essentially this meant having sufficient clear evidence.

The Christian, however, has an additional assurance that we will all appear before the righteous Judge of all mankind. We will err in many of our judgements here. But God expects governments to enforce laws and punish where necessary and not to be influenced by any form of manipulation like bribery and to this we may add pressure groups.

alli

July 14, 2013 at 02:56 PM

I have to say we see the outward sins we think were committed but God judges the heart. He alone knows the hearts of men we can only go but what we see. Thats why you must ask God, based on my experience i may see one thing but God sees the total picture. As Christian we are to accept what happened bc God allowed it. But honestly it could any one of us. I shudder to think what God could b telling our nation.

Peterson Onyeukwu

July 14, 2013 at 02:53 PM

Other things to pray for: that Christians would lose there apathy in a culture that is rife with injustice.

That white brothers and sisters would gain even more perspective on why blacks and other minorities feel disenfranchised and undervalued.

And that our Lord Jesus would come soon.

alli

July 14, 2013 at 02:47 PM

Woe to those who think money is their God, who divide brothers, woe to those who oppress the poor, woe to us when we kill kids and fail to turn the other cheek, bc we'd rather have our comforts.. woe to us for failing to love our enemies, America has allowed two men to marry, babies to b aborted legally, why should we look to Caeser to defend the cause of the poor.Being a Christian is tall order. I will pray for mercy for all involved.

TC

July 14, 2013 at 02:39 PM

I offer the following: http://wp.me/pFZiI-2YD

Trillia

July 14, 2013 at 02:32 PM

Great questions, Curt. I've been thinking about that as well. I think to answer them would require an additional article which I believe we will see over the next several months. Thanks for joining me in praying. -Trillia

Curt Day

July 14, 2013 at 02:20 PM

This article said a lot of good things. But we could add one more concern. if Zimmerman got a way with murder, will that cause more shootings? the issue is not just whether the old hurts have resurfaced, they actually never left, but have the old hatreds returned as well?

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