Last night I sat, unable to think about sleep, wondering what God will do in this matter, grieving over a young life senslessly ended by a grown man’s dreadful choice, and remembering my mother’s words to me long ago in my younger days,’Baby, sometimes life is not fair’.
And today, life seems so unfair because of doubt. Doubt.
I remember when my hands were tied as a juror because of doubt. Everything pointed toward the guy’s guilt, but there was one thread of evidence left empty. One thread that would have tied it all together. My eyes scanned our juror’s governing document –a description of our role and responsibility–and it was ironclad. I did not doubt my obligation or what was left for me to do in this case. Doubt. After the trial, the jury foreman and I knew it was our duty to talk to the Prosecutor. If only she would have provided the security tape they had referred to, the tape they had seen, the tape they kept from all of us as evidence! If only we would have seen it too,…no doubt…no doubt…because we were on the edge of decision. There would have been no doubt.
‘Why didn’t you provide the security video?’ we asked the Prosecutor.
She shrugged. We fumed. And as we walked to our cars in the wee hours of the morning, having been there all day and night, it seemed the most unjust act had just been witnessed–her shrug. Time wasted, money wasted, and our sense of justice and duty was greeted with a careless shrug. The guy walked. Doubt.
Doubt, a critical part of our justice system that is the bridge between being held accountable for one’s own behavior and walking away from a situation in which your bad, malicious, ill-timed, or unfortunate decision created a loss of some kind–the consequence.
George Zimmerman was active in his comunity’s crimewatch program. I do that.
George Zimmerman judged activity as being suspicious. I have done that.
George Zimmerman chose to pass character and behavior judgment on another human being unknown to him. Have any of us done that? Excerpts from his call… (click here for the 911 call)
‘This guy looks like he’s up to no good or on drugs or something,’ Zimmerman says.
(It was dark and raining, according to reports.)
‘These a******* always get away’
George Zimmerman chose to wear a gun.
George Zimmerman chose to call the police.
George Zimmerman chose to follow a ‘kid’ who was running in the rain on a dark night. An unknown kid, a neighbor, that he had already judged at least twice.
‘Are you following him?’
‘Yeah,’ Zimmerman admits.
‘We don’t need you to do that,’ the male police dispatcher said.
Was that George Zimmerman’s last opportunity to make the choice to return to his car? Was it Trayvon Martin’s last chance to continue his run to his home which was located near the shooting?
And there were two unaccounted minutes, known only to George Zimmerrman and God.
A teenaged child made decisions. A grown man made decisions. The child, Trayvon Martin, now rests in a grave. May his parents and loved ones be comforted and may he rest in peace.
Doubt is created when the heart and mind of an individual is unable to TOTALLY trust what is before them. Personal experiences and knowledge–true or false– filter information. Fear , suspicion, trust and mistrust are factors. (Read any definition of doubt.) In a court of law, reasonable doubt is created when moral certainty is lacking. Certainty and doubt–individual and personal conclusions which can waver and vary– are a part of our justice system. A big part.
Note to the wise: Remind yourself of choices and consequences. Teach your children about choices and consequences. Have a discussion about the significance of doubt–in life and in our court system.
In court, doubt doesn’t always result in freedom. Sometimes innocence is doubted. Google “Innocent man freed” and see if you agree. Where was doubt for them? Misplaced.
It is with the heart and mind that we doubt; it is with heart and mind that we judge; and it is with heart and mind that we interact with one another. And, it is my hope and prayer that those who read these words, and those grieve for justice in the death of this child will with heart and mind realize that true justice reigns in hands much greater than our own–the hands of a Sovereign and Mighty God.
I believe in God through faith, and further believe without doubt that God and Christ Jesus know our hearts, where we must grow and how and what we must turn from to be more just toward one another. THIS is OUR accountability–our own hearts and minds. We start the course of more just treatment toward one another by remembering our OWN accountability and then, perhaps, we will see the EXACT POINT at which we should stand to seek and demand justice for another.
In that, I believe without doubt.
Yesterday, long before the verdict, the rays of the sun drew my attention. Today, the image reminds me to keep my eyes to the heavens when things don’t seem fair or just. God’s glory is there, and just as he changes the details of the day to day skies, He is at work in our life and world, bringing truth, justice, and love. The sun’s rays returned me to the Scripture about the heavens (Psalm 19:1), and the subsequent verses of Psalm 19 reminded me that justice begins in me.