George Zimmerman Trial: Nobody Wins?

George Zimmerman Trial: Nobody Wins?

One of the potential jurors for the George Zimmerman trial was asked to summarize this case in three points: She replied, “One man lost his life, one man is fighting for his life, and nobody wins”.   As the trial has unfolded, many people have privately expressed their concerns with the exact same sentiment, “nobody wins”.

Sanford Pastors Connecting

At face value, I understand the thought.  Even in the best legal outcome for George Zimmerman, he will always carry the burden of that night and this trial.  In a recent interview with CNN, defense attorney Mark O’Mara stated:

“My client will never be safe.  There are a percentage of the population who are angry, they are upset, they may well take it out on him.  So he’ll never be safe”.

Screen shot of Local 6 News VIDEO of George Zimmerman Trail Courtroom Scene

Tracy Martin testifies concerning his grief over the loss of his son in the George Zimmerman murder trial

The loss is greater for the Martin family. Even if George Zimmerman is found guilty of murder, no measure of human justice will ever be adequate to bring back their son. Nobody wins.

A concern being voiced throughout our community is that there will be negative public reactions to the outcome of the trial. There are fears that violent forces and outside groups might use the occasion of this trial to bring trouble to the Sanford community. Nobody wins.

But, there are some good things that can come from this bad situation. Romans 8:28 promises   “God works all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” All things?  Even this tragic encounter?   Even this community disruption?  Do we have the eyes to see the good that is being brought forth by the Lord even now?

I want to name some “wins” for the kingdom of God from this trial.  Sanford Pastors Connecting is a good thing which has come as a direct result of this trial. There is now a denominationally diverse, multi-racial group of clergy, representing rich and poor who are having regular conversations and prayer with one another.  Sadly such communications have been far too long in coming. But now, there have been frank exchanges, offers of repentance and forgiveness. We have swapped pulpits, and we served the community together. While we may have different perspectives on the issues related to the trial, we share a common posture of prayer. We are united under one Lord, reconciled in Jesus Christ.

Sanford Pastors Connecting

Sanford Pastors Connecting meeting with law enforcement officials.

Another great development coming from this trial is a new level of community conversation and engagement between law enforcement and the community. Mistrust in this particular relationship is one of the main challenges this trial has highlighted. The good news is that Sanford and Seminole County law enforcement officials and the community, represented by the pastors, are now sitting at the table together developing a relationship and sharing hopes, concerns and fears with one another. This is an unprecedented opportunity for mutual understanding and trust to develop within our community.

Finally, we have been given an incredible opportunity as a community to learn from others about our own mistakes, prejudices and reactions. Human anxiety can see and assume the worst in each other.  One of the main lessons we can learn from this experience is the need to speak words of grace and to be charitable in our assumptions about those whom we do not yet know.

Only the Lord sees the motivations of the heart.  He perceives the thoughts of our minds. Indeed, all of us have a sin nature capable of accomplishing great evil and harm. However, every person is also made in the image of God and capable of great good.  Rather than assuming and calling forth the worst in one another, we can seek and summon the better virtues.

Here are some questions for discussion: What good do you see coming from the challenges of this trial? What lessons can we learn as a people from this experience?

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I would love for you to express your thoughts on my blog in order to strengthen our common conversation. What is your take away from this post? What question does the post leave you wondering? Let's get some discussion going! Please note that for the sake of the trust of my readers, I do reserve the right to remove comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Richard Campanaro

    Yes, indeed, no one wins. Thank you, Fr. Holt for pointing out Romans 8:28 “God works all thing for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose”. Fr. Holt, you are so special for all the love you provide. Your presence in the courtroom is a shining example to all of us. God Bless You. Richard Campanaro 7/9/2013.

    • http://revcharlieholt.com Charles Holt

      Thank you, Richard! Praying for hearts to hear The Lord!

  • Charles Holt, Jacksonville, Fl

    If you can get a better line of communication open between law enforcement and the community you have done some good. Trayvon’s friend on the phone said something to the effect that we do not call police to our neighborhood because they cause us problems. That is a sad situation which perhaps can be alleviated. Any good result is going to take some follow-through to be of a long term value. An open hand extended from each side (not a clenched fist) is a good start.

    • http://revcharlieholt.com Charles Holt

      You got it! The key is the conversations taking place. Long after the media trucks drive away. The people of this community will continue to be neighbors. We need to stay in good communication with open hands and hearts!