The following is a post I saw from Philip Wagner. It is the best response I’ve seen yet. Here is his post:
Written on the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC are these words,
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
I am a pastor of a racially diverse church in Los Angeles. The issues of race, culture and relationships have been important ones to my friends, our church family and to me. I live it every day of my life. In most racially diverse cities of America there are still too few racially diverse churches and congregations
I have great relationships with people of a variety of races and lead a community of people made up of tremendous ethnic diversity. These are relationships not built on “tolerance” but on trust, honesty and shared vision.
We are not unaware of or immune to the racial pressures and tensions all around us.
The verdict in the George Zimmerman trial was reached this past weekend. It is not a surprise to see the reactions around America. Racial wounds still run deep, hostilities are still boiling below the surface and people speak out of past pain, which continues to perpetuate the bitterness.
When there is the possibility that racial profiling was involved in how this tragedy unfolded it intensifies the emotions and anger.
I do not know what happened that night between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. Only two people do. One is no longer with us. The other is Mr. Zimmerman.
I don’t know if Zimmerman is guilty or innocent.
People who do not actually know what happened in this horrible situation speak as if they had court-side seats to the events that night.
People speak as if they know what’s in the hearts and souls of those involved.
We don’t really know.
I don’t know what was in the heart and mind of Martin or Zimmerman.
I don’t know all the evidence presented in court.
I don’t know the conversations in the jury room.
Our reactions reveal our wounded hearts – not our legal insight.
What we DO know is - a tragedy occurred. A young man with heaps of potential was killed. Parents lost their son. A family lost a good young man. Friends and family mourn.
What we DO know is - George Zimmerman’s life has forever changed by the events of that night. He suffers, his family suffers and our society suffers.
What we DO know is - revenge does not work. Justice does not heal, anger does not resolve, the “eye for an eye” approach only continues to blind us.
What we DO know is - that justice is not the highest law in the universe – love is.
What we DO know is - “Hate cannot drive out hate only love can do that.”
We see through the tinted lenses of our own hurts and fears. How do we get past our past?
Heartbreak and loss transcends the color of our skin. When you lose someone you love – it hurts deeply – it does not matter whether your skin is brown, black or white.
Are we going to keep drawing the same conclusions and responding in the ways that have kept us in this cycle of hate and pain from generation to generation or are we going to try love? Are we as a society willing to pay the lofty price of love?
Our leaders need to lead us with prayers like this:
“Lord, please bring healing and comfort to Trayvon Martin’s family. Heal the hearts of all of us who feel the pain of this loss.
And God, forgive all involved in this situation of their wrongs – the transgressions of that night and those we have committed ourselves in response to this tragedy.
We pray for George Zimmerman and his family and ask that you would guide them, comfort them and forgive them for any wrongs in their life.
Help us not point to others in blame but reach out to one another in compassion.
Help us to love each other and trust each other regardless of the color of our skin.
Help us to not respond with the same fear and hatred that may have caused this heartbreak and others like it in our world.
Help us, Lord, to love like Jesus loved, forgive like Jesus forgave and reach out in compassion – even to those who may not deserve it.
Heal our land from racial hurts. Let it begin with me.
Forgive me for wrongfully judging others.
Show me how to be an example of love respect and honor that transcends race.
Let me be an example of the love that heals; the love that others would want to follow.
What would you pray that could bring a higher level of love and harmony?