Five things I think about the Zimmerman verdict

I’ve been watching with great interest the happenings surrounding the Zimmerman trial and verdict.

Here’s five things that I think:

  • No one won - A 17 year old is dead, a 29 year old is sentenced to a life of watching his back, one family grieves, both families are forever changed & our nation is more polarized than it was a year ago. Everybody loses in a situation like this.
  • Only two people really know the truth - You may think you do, but you don’t. Think about what I just said. Some people are Zimmerman_Verdictspouting off as if they have an inside scoop. They don’t. I don’t. You don’t. None of us do. Only two people know and one of them is dead.
  • Our justice system worked – Six ordinary people devoted several weeks of their lives and came up with a unanimous verdict after hearing all the evidence. Our system is based on presumed innocence, which means the prosecution will always be at the disadvantage. I’m glad they are. Personally, I’d rather see an occasional guilty person walk rather than an innocent one go to prison. I’m not making a judgement on Mr. Zimmerman’s innocence or guilt. I didn’t sit thru a trial and hear all the facts. I’m just saying the system worked, whether I agree or disagree.
  • The Trayvon Martin family were incredibly gracious and respectful in their response. I cannot imagine their disappointment and pain. I could only hope to be as courageous if I was in their shoes.
  • God can bring good out of anything. His promises are true regardless of circumstances. He could use this to draw people to him who are looking for truth, open up conversations on race relationships or do any of a number of things that my mind cannot conceive. I know that he cares and is a loving impartial judge with all knowledge and wisdom. I know that he is at work on solutions before we even recognize that there are problems.

What if we all prayed for His kingdom to come and his will to be done? We if we all acted with humility rather than hubris? What if we saw the world thru lenses of “we” rather than “us versus them”.

What if?

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (The Gospel according to Matthew 5:9 TLV)

Greg is the founding pastor of Seacoast Church, one of the early adopters of the multi-site model. Located in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, Seacoast has been recognized by various media as an innovative and influential thought leader in future strategies for church growth and development.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

103 comments
brainsmoke
brainsmoke

My perspective as a security guard. I see activity that may be questionable, not normal. This may be a presence at strange hours. I observe, that is it. The person(s) do not like being observed. They decide to beat me up to permanent damage to death. I leave behind a family, their support, and the kids go undaunted. Or, I stop them, hurt them, and I am the bad guy because they are a different color from me. The client wants a security guard because of past events, but does not want them to notice anything. Now we have a dead jogger, a dead WWII vet. Both at the hands of young black kids. Or, at the hands of lonely kids looking for a parent. Kids start out with two parents may never have one. God forgive the racists. God remember the lonely kids.

Kirk Giles
Kirk Giles

I found this site because I am new to the area and looking for a Church that my family and I would be comfortable in attending. All the comments are interesting and it is great. I followed this trial to beginning to end. I have more than 15 years in Law Enforcement, in another state. My opinion of this case is that The State of Florida crumbled to public pressure. This was not a case of race, until certain media turned into race for ratings. George Zimmerman is guilty of Manslaughter but because of public pressure the State of Florida sought out the 2nd Degree murder charge. He was never guilty of 2nd degree murder. I do believe if the media would start reporting the News and stop trying to create a divide for the soul purpose of gaining ratings for profit George Zimmerman would be sitting in jail right now. The prosecution is at fault for crumbling to public pressure instead of doing their job, The Media is at fault for creating the public pressure. The fingers are are being pointed everywhere, just not in the right direction. A young man is dead, another life is changed forever and he will have to explain himself to God. This should have never got out to the media the way it did. If the prosecution would have charged him Manslaughter from the beginning we would have a different verdict.

Matt
Matt

There are no "winners" here beyond the mainstream media who sought out a case to bring ratings. Their inaccurate portrayal of both of the men involved is appalling. They knew facts that they didn't want people to know about, so they did not report them. The American public was used and manipulated. The discussions surrounding race relations in America deserve a much more enlightened platform than this. Race is an issue in America, it just wasn't in this trial until the media made it one to serve their own interests. I pray that people will wake up and search their own hearts and ask God how they can respond in His loving way, not the ways others want or expect us to respond.

Kathy
Kathy

I agree with you!! We are one race, human race. If you are brown,yellow, black or white this is the best Country to be. Amen America

Virgil M. Maralit
Virgil M. Maralit

Thank you David Henderson for sharing this: "I would permit no man, no matter what his colour might be, to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him." -Booker T. Washington

Josh Blanchard
Josh Blanchard

Our justice system is broken, it failed. Do not be deceived pastor, this was as much a miscarriage of justice as there as ever been. Mary would understand, as would any mother of any murdered son. Shame on the judicial system of Florida! "Pray for us Mary, mother of Jesus, patron saint of murdered sons."

Jeri Appiah
Jeri Appiah

A pastor used to say to his members if they lost a member of their family, "God gives, and God takes away." His own daughter died and an elder said to him,"Pastor, God gave, and God has taken away." The Pastor then turned and said, "No, this one is different." I was a hospital chaplain for some time and learnt that grief is natural, as is anger and despair. The scripture, prayer, and sensitive counselling can help deal with these feelings. But I don't think the argument that six ordinary members of the public who sat through the trial collectively found Zimmerman not guilty is any way to address this tragedy. Jurors do get it wrong sometimes, and usually it is because of the way they are directed by the trial judge. One takes defensive /offensive action if they are threatened or have reason to believe they might be in some kind of danger. To lift a gun and shoot dead an unarmed individual who poses no danger to you when at least you have an option to disable them simply because you have in your hands the means to kill is wrong. And Pastor Greg, admit it and let us not justify wilful homicide and hide behind the law. Zimmerman will not be looking over his shoulder because he has killed once and been assured he was right in doing so. I can see him doing the same again (or somebody else doing that) in similar circumstances. What price human life?

Kim Miller
Kim Miller

I have been thinking about my comment since I really put it in words. I now i might start sounding like I'm lecturing. :) Please bear with me. As a child, I was called derogatory names by mean people that had nothing to do with color. I have since learned that hurting people hurt people. Now, I pry for those that do mean things. I've taught my kids this, too, since they have been mistreated in school. I know it's easier as an adult, but I really believe the answer lies in prayer for people who are mean to you. Hopefully, we can end racism in all races with prayer. I would still like to hear from others about my other comment. Keep looking at Him for the answers! Sincerely, Kim

Dr.Michael A. Chambers
Dr.Michael A. Chambers

I respect your opinion. However , the justice system did not work in this matter!!!! In His Footsteps Dr. Michael A. Chambers

Kim Miller
Kim Miller

I'm a white female who hopes that some people of a different color will chime in on this......... I've always had a few black friends. In my 20's, I would go to parties where I was the only white girl, but we were friends gathering from work and playing playing spades. I always felt safe. The environment with my black friends playing cards is very different than with my white friends. It's much more animated. The same goes for movies. If I went to a movie filled mostly with black people, there are comments on everything, cheers, boos, tons of laughter. It's quite fun, actually. However if you go to the same movie with mostly white people, it's quiet. I bring this up because there are differences in people, but neither is wrong. Both have a place in this world. And while skin color doesn't put you in one group or the other, culture does. Here is my big question. If I want to describe my favorite car to someone, I would say a red Corvette. The fact that it's red is important. However if I want to describe a person who is black, I can't say they are black without running the risk that it might hurt their feelings. Can we ever reach a point where the word doesn't cause problems? That it's just a descriptor? Please help me understand! Sincerely, Kim Miller

Willis Weber
Willis Weber

I'm afraid, Pastor Greg, that in your desire to "not let the extreme voices drown out..." you've unwillingly fed into our white default to seek comfort and naiveté above humility and the willingness to serve. Most of our black brothers and sisters simply want to be heard and not dismissed as "extreme" or "irrelevant". I think it's well within our roles as disciples of Christ to allow space and room for our friends to mourn even if it seems "extreme". Immediately having answers and arguments and reasons why (fill in the blank), only serve to exacerbate the human default of minimizing the voices of those around us--especially the voices of those who are hurting and in need. What if you had posted a clear call to "mourn with those who mourn" instead of brushing aside hurt with tritely writing "God can bring good out of anything"? (While this is true, would this be the first thing you say to a family in your church suffering loss?) What if you had used your power and authority as Seacoast Pastor to boldly give voice to those who keep getting sidelined instead of posting 5 neatly tied-up answers (the longest of which you sought to provide comfort by pointing to a broken system of "justice" run by a broken people and how "it worked") ? With all due respect, I think God has given you a voice in the Charleston (and beyond) community for more than a milquetoast, dismissive response to a deep, complex issue and a deeply hurting people. May the Lord continue to shape his People more and more into His Image--especially in times like this. Yours in Christ, Willis Weber

Greg Surratt
Greg Surratt

As the author of this blog, I'm actually somewhat encouraged by the conversation. With a couple of obvious exceptions, this has been a reasonable discussion on a difficult subject. I think we can't let extreme voices on either side drown out the need to listen and learn.

Kenneth Gerald
Kenneth Gerald

This is how a blog goes horribly wrong...........No one listening everyone arguing. God Help us all! I won't even begin to unpack all of this. It's certainly a tragedy that it's comes to this and until "all" of us are willing to come to a table and have some honest conversation this is not gonna change. For sure, none of us know what happened except that an unarmed african american child is DEAD and he could have been my son. My son was just accused a couple of months ago of knocking down a mailbox in our neighborhood that we're the only african american family while four kids stood and watched the kid that did it, yet one kid accused my son. Luckily, the kid that really did it confessed but not before they were app to believe that my son did it. Was it because he was the only african american kid there and it was easy to accuse him and it would be believable or was it just kids being kids. I guess we'll never know but what we do know is that he was the only african american and everyone was app to believe he did it when he really didn't. This is the kid of stuff that you guys have to listen too. Please don't make sweeping assumptions when you really don't know. Until we're willing to deal with the plight of and ills of this country this can't change brothers and sisters. I pray that God can get glory out of this all in the end because I'm not sure that he is at this moment......

JP
JP

@K Stephens: You bet I have a bias, buddy! You filthy race-baiter, you can't shame me by calling me a racist as you people do all the time. All "creepy @ss crackers" should wake up. THE CRIME RATES SHOW THAT WE ARE BEING FED UPON BY BLACKS AND WE HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS SCREWED-UP RACE COMPLAIN ABOUT US CONSTANTLY???

K Stephens
K Stephens

JP, when people are blinded by bias and predjudice as you so obviosly are, they become incapable of employing common sense. When a person has their heads "bashed" on concrete, they're going to have more than a few scratches. Chances are, their skull would be cracked and they would suffer a concussion at the very least. Your language points to your racial bias, accusing 'blacks' (as if they were some 'other' species)of violence when this country has had a rash of mass murders perpetrated by white males. Like I said, when one is blinded by bias, they are BLIND. God created everyone perfectly in HIS image, and when you have a 'problem' with his creation, you have a problem with HIM. Food for thought.

Bryan Tripp
Bryan Tripp

Well Said Pastor Greg...As you know I'm a product of an inmate attack at work, he was African-American. So only he and I know what happened, he nearly beat me to death. I think Zimmerman did what he HAD to do to save himself. I'm only alive by the grace of God. I know God is not thru with me yet.

JP
JP

@RoseM: NO!! We wouldn't have because black on white crime, raping and murdering, is at EPIDEMIC LEVELS!!!

JP
JP

Bullshit. It happens every day in America. Stop being so violent, blacks. Bashing peoples' heads on the sidewalk is not appropriate. You will and should get shot in self-defense for doing that.

Jeff
Jeff

I've been going to SeaCoast for over 10 years (off and on) and have know Elder Grisby even longer. All I can say is rasist, both actual and precieved will continue as long as someone has something to grain from it. Whether it be superiority or the victom. Jeff

RoseM
RoseM

Just wondering...if George didn't have a gun and had bled out by having his head bashed in, would we have heard about it?

Liz
Liz

I am very grateful for everyone taking their time and energy to express their different points of view. It could have easily turned into a smooch fest for Pastor Greg instead of an open forum for people to express their point of view.

Jan Foster
Jan Foster

Thank you Pastor Greg and everyone else for their comments. They have certainly gotten a good number of us thinking. I have lived long enough to realize that there is rarely Justice in our courtrooms. We have to wait for God's justice in almost every case if we want Truth and Fairness. We can however treat each other respectfully and have actual conversations. There will forever be people whose minds are closed and hearts are hardened. Those people of every race, color and creed should be on all of our Prayer Lists. No one is 100% right or wrong. The only race of any consequence is the Human Race.

KerryBowden
KerryBowden

Whether you believe in the judicial system was right or wrong is between you and God. Let's look at the facts a 17 year old was pummeling another person was on top doing a ground and pound. Why is he resorting to violence. Why didn't he offer his hand saying "Hi I am Travon". This may offend some but both of these people made the wrong choices both are guilty of this tragedy. We are losing too many of our young men we need to teach them different.

K Stephens
K Stephens

I am amazed by how people cherry-pick information to re-inforce what they believe. I keep reading here that there was nothing to indicate that Trayvon was racially profiled, when it has been said that Zimmerman repeatedly called non-emergency dispatch to report 'suspicious' black males. So on the night that Trayvon was walking down a public street, which as an American citizen, he had every right to do, George Zimmerman saw another black male and did what he normally did; call dispatch. Are you conveniently forgetting his hostile words in describing an innocent boy? What else is it other than profiling? So many here have quoted Zimmerman's story verbatim, repeating it as if thier lives depended on it. Don't you think someone who'd just shot a child unjustly would lie? When Zimmerman left his vehicle, he set in motion events that ended a child's life. You can't say he was wrong to exit the car and stalk this kid then say he was justified to shoot after he provoked an encounter. His guilt began when he over-stepped his responsibility as a neighborhood watch. Why is it so important to make Trayvon the aggressor when it's been said by his friend from the phone conversation, and Zimmerman himself, that he was running away. He was running away from a stranger who was following him in the dark. All of us would do the same thing. If you hold to the belief that Trayvon must have been the aggressor by default, I would suggest that you have bought into a sterotype about black males. Is it far-fetched to believe that Zimmerman would be hostile to this black boy that he suspected of being 'up to no good'? That possibly HE initiated the encounter, emboldened by the fact that he carried a loaded weapon? Why does Trayvon Martin have less of a right to defend himself from a stranger following him in the dark? He was a kid, a good student with a family who loved him, not a thug like so many need him to be to justify his murder. But none of that mattered to George Zimmerman who just saw him as a criminal, knowing absolutely NOTHING about him. What if something like that happened to you or your child? The screams for help stopped the instant the gun was fired, which means the person who was screaming was the one who was shot. There has been a travesty of justice because the jury chose to focus on an encounter which they only had the defendant's word for, rather than what took place before the encounter, which informs why that child ended up dead.

Jackie
Jackie

LET GO AND LET GOD!!! Flesh gets in the way!

carol gilmer
carol gilmer

Agreed......well stated! If the foolish race baitors would quit stirring the pot......just to seek the lime light for themselves, we could get through this peacefully. Our justice system, whether the verdict is liked or not, it is the law! Rioting, looting, and foolish demonstrations only make the perpetrators look like the fools that they are!

Jeanette Snook
Jeanette Snook

Well stated Greg. The perfect perspective!!!!! Most no-nonsense considerations I have heard this entire confusion. Thank you Pastor Greg!!!!

Chris Russo
Chris Russo

It's truly amazing to me that the love of God has the ability to penetrate even the deepest darkness if we will just get out of it's way. Thanks Pastor Greg! Chris

jeanne long
jeanne long

There is room for thoughtful consideration of what this case means. I must say that those who think you should not speak unless you were at the scene of the crime or were on the jury are wrong. I suspect the same people repeat what they have heard on their favorite news shows when it suits them. Thank you for a thoughtful post. I am of the opinion that if one observes an actual crime taking place and intervenes it is justifiable... If one just suspects someone but does not observe any crime, they need to stay in their car and let the police deal with it... and the law should reflect that so people know where the line is.

David M.
David M.

BTW Pastor Greg I am a former Seacoaster who now goes to another church but really misses your messages. Keep doing what your doing and may God Bless You!

David M.
David M.

Thank you Pastor Greg for your insight in which I agree almost 100% with. I disagree only with the "only two people know for sure" cause the Lord knows and will judge accordingly. SO we don't have to judge. I didn't follow this case as much as most because I believe this was hand picked by the media to make money while causing all this division. So many tragic cases like this happen all the time but we never hear about because the media doesn't believe it to be good press. But the media jumped on this case. I have no idea what was going on in Zimmerman's mind through this whole thing. Perhaps he could have warned Martin he had a gun...perhaps he did. Maybe there was another way, maybe not. I simply do not know, nor does any other poster here. I do know one thing...people tend to believe what they want to believe. It seems that some want this to be a racial thing, other don't. Some want to see this as a gun control thing. Why can't we just view this as a tragic thing, show some grace and mercy and forgivness, and move one.

cassie brasher
cassie brasher

I just hope and pray that anything that is done are already done that they pray about it and have pray about it.God is the only one who can see them throught this.we are just pray for both of there familys in this time of need and that they both will depend on him

Gary Votour
Gary Votour

Thank you, Pastor Greg, for putting into words what many of us feel. A friend of a friend on facebook wrote this yesterday, and it bears repeating often and widely. He encapsulated my view better than I could myself, and did so quite eloquently. "The judicial system has spoken, to the joyful relief of some and the fury of others. George Zimmerman was found not guilty in the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. A young man is gone from this earth and from his grieving family and friends. My heart aches for them. Though the jury believed the George Zimmerman acted in self-defense and acquitted him, he will probably never really be free. His name will be forever linked to this horrific event, making it difficult for him to work or even go to the grocery store. I pray that there will be no violent backlash to this specific painful situation in which there are no winners. However, the larger issue is how easily racial perceptions and tensions are triggered in our nation. Even this morning on Facebook, I saw several “conversations” littered with name-calling, cursing, and condemnation of “the other side.” (Why must there be “sides?”) I literally felt nauseated as I read. A few years ago, Judy Denson and I collected true stories about kids and wrote a book called, “KidSpiration: Out of the Mouths of Babes.” I remember a particular account of two 5-year-olds who made me dream of a better way. Chas, an African-American child, and his Caucasian friend, John, were on the playground. Chas saw his teenage brother across the way with one of his white friends. “That’s my brother,” Chas declared proudly. “Which one?” John asked, spotting the two boys on the sidewalk. Chas answered, “The one with the red sweater.” When, oh when, will we begin to identify people by the color of their clothing or, much better, by the color of their personalities or the spirit of their hearts? When will people of European, African, Hispanic, Asian, or “whatever” descent move past old resentments, some transmitted generationally, and learn to openly relate simply as people? At what point will we realize that the actions of a few do not define the hearts and intentions of an entire group with a similar amount of melanin in their skin? God is no respecter of persons; He loves all bountifully. (See Galatian 3: 28, for example: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”) Is it not a spit in the face of God when we disrespect and judge people by categories? I pray for peace and no violence in the aftermath of the Zimmerman decision. But even more, I long for peace in the hearts of all of us toward one another. Why can’t we just give each other the respect we want for ourselves? Jesus Himself stated His will in this plainly: “A new commandment I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13: 34-35) I must pose the challenge, what are our attitudes toward others who are “different” telling the world about our own spiritual conditions?"

Nicki
Nicki

Very well said!

Pastor Dan Casselberry
Pastor Dan Casselberry

The proverbial "poop in the punchbowl" here is the fact that the moronic Florida "Stand Your Ground" law set the stage for this to happen, and for the subsequent verdict. Consider the fact that Zimmerman was released immediately after being questioned following the shooting, and not formally arrested and arraigned for an additional five weeks. Does anyone with any sense of reality seriously believe if the tables had been turned, and Trayvon Martin had been legally armed, and followed George Zimmerman after being told not to by a police dispatcher, scuffled with George Zimmerman, and finally shot him to death that he would have simply been questioned and released? The harsh reality that many folks just don't want to face is that the standards of justice in this country and enforcement of the law depends a great deal on your race. From George Zimmerman's many calls to the police in his quasi-legal neighborhood watch captain role, and his own vulgar, bigoted words on those taped calls, it was clear he was suspicious of Trayvon Martin because of his race. Far too many of my fellow caucasians don't want to acknowledge the reality of the elephant in the room, which is racism. I grew up in a very racist environment in West Texas. Racism was the venom that poisoned my childhood and youth. None of us are born as racists, it is something terrible we learn. And where I grew up, it was endemic. I thank God for the small number of adults who rejected that view and became mentors for me and taught me to see it for what it was and is: evil! I still grapple with the deep seeds of prejudice that colored so much of my early life. Simply recognizing that racism is evil is the beginning, not the end of the issue. With great sadness I share something very shameful and personal. On the night of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, I was a teenager attending a church revival. When the revival preacher told us the news, my thought was, "well, there's one less "troublemaker" to stir things up in our country. I was 14 years old at the time. I use the word "troublemaker" but I'm sure the actual word more sinister. Today I would describe myself as a "repentant racist". As a white person, I recognize I enjoy advantages and privileges by the sheer fact of my race. That should not be the case, but it is. All of us caucasians who haven't walked in the shoes of persons of other races would do well to pause and think about that fact, before being so quick to assume we're ok in this regard.

Garrett
Garrett

Respectfully, I agree with all but one of your points, and I'm growing a little weary of hearing it (many are saying similar things). It is this one: "Only two people know the truth about what happened that night." Other variations are along the lines of "No one will ever know what really happened that night." This automatically assumes Zimmerman has been lying about his story, including his testimony under oath. It also muddies up the things we know to be absolute concrete fact: 1) Martin Assaulted Zimmerman. 2) Zimmerman shot and killed Martin. That's what really happened that night. The rest is irrelevant. Even if you buy into the built-in assumption that Zimmerman is lying via "no one really knows what happened", the detective who filed the report on the shooting concluded in no uncertain terms that self-defense was necessary and the shooting was justified. Here is what we also know happened that night: two very stupid decisions were made: Zimmerman decided to get out of the truck and follow Martin which agitated the teenager followed by Martin's far more stupid decision to assault a man he did not know was armed. We DO know what happened that night. Zimmerman's story was backed up by witness testimony, forensic evidence, circumstantial evidence and character witness. No one contradicted Zimmerman's story on the witness stand, including witnesses for the prosecution. Zimmerman deserves the benefit of the doubt not only in being not guilty of 2nd degree murder, but he deserves the benefit of the doubt in the issue of his integrity. Zimmerman didn't go looking to shoot anyone that night. He was over-zealously doing his job as neighborhood watch person. Bad decisions were made. A life was lost. Another will never be as it was. This nations is, as you said, more divided than ever. Jesus cannot return soon enough.

Julia
Julia

As an addition to my previous comment, I want to say that not everyone believes in God. So to turn this into a "only God can judge" type of thing is really insulting to those who are grieving the decision and do not believe in God.

Julia
Julia

How so very idealistic and short sighted this opinion is. Regardless of what Trayvon's intent was that night, the facts show he did not know Zimmean was even present until Zimmerman made the choice to get out of his car and pursue Trayvon, against the instructions of the police dispatcher. Secondly, God or his presumed existence has nothing to do with this. Please keep religion out of important social matters, such as one in which an innocent boy was so viciously discriminated against and ultimately killed by an overzealous, yet dim-witted wanna be policeman. Someone most certainly won in this trial-- the person who will live a free life without consequence. The loser will lie in the ground while his family grieves forever without justice or closure of any kind.

None
None

Well put!

James Selvey
James Selvey

Good to hear this, I needed it. I despise violence. Admittedly my first reaction was anger. However, Christ's mercy and grace abounds in me and my anger turned to sadness which then became peace.

Kat
Kat

Nice. Very nice J. Ann. Thank you dear.

J. Ann
J. Ann

I hope I can make sense here. I have much in my heart and I want to speak freely. I pray I will not offend anyone. That's not my intent. As Pastor Greg wrote, "Only two people really know the truth - You may think you do, but you don’t. Think about what I just said. Some people are spouting off as if they have an inside scoop. They don’t. I don’t. You don’t. None of us do. Only two people know and one of them is dead." With that being said, I'd like to ask, Why-why-why, knowing that we don't really know what happened do so many seem determined to declare this was a "race" related crime? For the life of me, I truly don't understand. It almost feels as if those who believe it was a race-related crime WANT to believe it was, which then makes me ask, "why?" Is it a victim mentality in the heart of people? Is it supressed anger and unforgivness taking opportunity to reveal itself? Is it vengeance seeping forth for past hurts? Then again, some people will hate and judge others simply because sin resides in their heart. I say this to both Whites and Blacks. Why do "I" want to believe Zimmerman targeted and shot Trayvon simply because of his color? There's no evidence to support that belief, other than what we were "led" to believe by news programs who fed us false information, and those who inflamed the masses with their hateful rhetoric. They whipped people into frenzy didn't they? What happened to Trayvon was a horribly tragedy, and this nation exploded - and all to easily. I'll say it again - Too easily. This killing whether in self-defense or due to an over-zealous neighborhood watchman revealed what's been simmering,(I beleive) in the heart of far too many - buried beneath the surface: anger, hatred, vengeance, and jealousy. We hate because we believe we are hated. We hate because we cling to the past and we haven't forgiven. We determine another's intent as if we are able to rightfully discern his/her motives. We aren't. We are "judging". Many Whites do not believe Blacks truly like them and walk on eggshells feeling as if Blacks are waiting for them to make a wrong statement or action so they can cry "racism", and many Blacks are convinced they are hated and looked down upon by Whites as inferior strictly because of their color, and no amount of pleading will persuade either side differently. Yes, there is true racism in the world - racism that exists solely because of ones color. There are blacks that will always hate whites, and whites that will always hate blacks for nothing more than color. We cannot change that. Only God can change a heart. As for the jurors they carefully weighed the evidence that was presented to them - nothing more and nothing less. But for any of us to "insist" Treyvon was killed intentionally because of being Black when the 'evidence' did not support that, is to "judge". God alone is able to Judge Righteously, not me, not any of us. As Christians Jesus taught us that In Him there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male or female. We are all one in Christ. We cannot change the heart of unbelievers, but as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ we all must lay down our "judgments". As Pastor Greg said, we need to stop looking through a lens of "us verses them". We are ONE in Christ. Let's delve into what that really means. I am no longer Black/White. I'm a citizen of Heaven. I'm a Christian.

Kenneth Gerald
Kenneth Gerald

I appreciate this, how do I say heated conversation. This dialogue must continue because once the truth starts to be exposed the healing can take place then real transformation can happen. Greg, I think it's great that you fostered a platform to have this conversation. Sure it's hard to hear what Elder Grisby speaks but I know it's gonna make us all better in the end and I'm sure we can agree to disagree on a few issues and thats ok, that's the beauty of how God made us. The heavens won't crumble if we disagree. Though we all may not agree on every issue, what we do know is that we should be seeking to understand and not merely just to be understood. This is a multilayered very complex conversation that could never be adequately addressed on a blog. Jesus' last prayer in John 17 was Father as we are one may they become one so the world will know and believe. The word "world" in this context originally comes from the same word that we get ethnic from...."Ethnos" Clearly Jesus' prayer is that humanity from every ethnic flavor would be reunited since we hadn't been together since we were scattered to the four winds of the earth at the Tower of Babel! We were scattered because of our sin and reunited because of a Savior, yet it appears that we linger on the periphery of that real reconciliation when it comes to humanity. We all seem to agree on the finished work of reconciliation when it comes to the cross and man being reconciled to God yet we struggle with being reconciled to one another and that is evidenced in the fact that 87% of the churches in america are homogenous. What we have to agree to do is stay at the table no matter how hard the conversation gets and we should pray; God help me to hear with Your ears and see through your eyes. God break our hearts with the things that break Yours. This case, like flux in a crucible placed over a hot fire brings everything to the surface to be drossed off The refining process is intense, it's heated and it takes time but My prayer is that in the end, God would look down into that crucible, that is this world, like a SilverSmith upon finishing the refining process and see not an unshapely, unattractive piece of coal but He would, like the silversmith see an image of himself. That's my prayer....#LoveGodLovePeople

Marcus Bryant
Marcus Bryant

Pastor Greg there is a video recreation of Trayvon as he enters the store and Zimmerman's car pulling up. It contains all the calls 911 Trayvon's girlfriend the stalking on foot and the struggle behind the neighbors yards. Please watch this. You can find it at my Facebook page. Elder Grisby thank you for your views. This Florida law must be changed and back ground checks for those who wish to carry guns must become law. God help us to stop profiling and heal.

Pastor Dan Casselberry
Pastor Dan Casselberry

A friend shared a link to this blog as worthy of reading. I am a white male, who has not had to suffer the frequent indignities, fears, and suspicions that our African-American brothers and sisters have all experienced, and all to frequently. In my opinion, I am outraged by the verdict in this case. One of the jurors has now gone public, and we know several important things about the deliberations. First, we know that the first vote was 3 for acquittal, 2 for manslaughter, and 1 for second degree murder. We also know that this juror, who voted for acquittal from the start, should not have been seated on this panel, by statements she has made and by the very fact that her husband is a local lawyer practicing law in Sanford. The blame for her empanelment rests clearly upon the incompetence of the prosecution. This juror is already in negotiations for a book deal. Nothing like making money on the misery of others. I am firmly in accord with the sentiments of Elder Grisby. The Zimmerman defense team did a great job of making Trayvon Martin the perpetrator, not the victim. George Zimmerman lives, although I do not know how he can live with himself. Trayvon Martin, a teenager, is dead, because he was profiled by an adult with a messianic complex. Trayvon Martin killed no one, but George Zimmerman did. George Zimmerman may have been found not guilty by the verdict of this tainted jury, but he's not the only one who will have to answer to God for his action. No, our system of justice didn't work. It failed, but the failure even precedes the events that led to this trial. The legislature of Florida committed a grievous crime when they essentially legalized vigilantism with the "Stand Your Ground" law. George Zimmerman may be alive, but now, under Florida law, any African American who encounters him on the street will be justified under Florida law to see him as a threat to their safety and act accordingly. Can you see just how incredibly foolish this law is? It is an open invitation to mayhem, and you can also thank ALEC and the NRA for inflicting this madness on the people of Florida. I live in New Jersey, where we have strict, sane gun laws that would require you avoid anything you consider a threat, not to feel empowered to engage it, as George Zimmerman did. George Zimmerman, though told not to follow Trayvon Martin, ignored the police dispatcher's instructions, because he wanted to be a "hero". I am reminded of Henrik Ibsen's play "Galileo", where one of the characters says, "Pity the nation that has no heroes," to which Galileo replies, "No, pity the nation that needs a hero". The Lord stood with the poor, the downtrodden, the dispossessed, the victims of injustice. I choose not to be silent, because that's what our faith demands. Love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and your neighbor as yourself. Tragic that George Zimmerman couldn't see Trayvon Martin as his neighbor, as a fellow human being, instead of a potential criminal because he was wearing a hoodie, an article of clothing that's been around for about fifty years and doesn't elicit suspicion when white kids are wearing them. Trayvon is dead, because being black made him a potential criminal in the mind of George Zimmerman. Jesus weeps this very day, because we haven't learned the lessons of love, and that perfect love casts out fear.

Robert Sorenson
Robert Sorenson

Please, if you follow Phil's link, don't stop at the bait line but continue to hear Greg as he unfolds the reason for his story and "apparent" dislike for Ray Lewis. It just proves how God can work in our lives and turn trash into Zune Godly vessel, I put myself as the first example but not worthy to be included with many who have far outdistanced me.

GregSurratt
GregSurratt moderator

Kirk - Sounds like a reasonable explanation.

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  1. [...] outrage, including T.D. Jakes who expressed his shock over the verdict. Pastor Greg Surratt concluded, ”Our justice system worked,” Charisma Magazine urged Christians to pray, [...]

  2. [...] Five Things I Think About The Zimmerman Verdict by Greg Surratt [...]

  3. [...] outrage, including T.D. Jakes who expressed his shock over the verdict. Pastor Greg Surratt concluded, “Our justice system worked,” Charisma Magazine urged Christians to pray, and Anthea [...]

  4. [...] Five Things I Think About the Zimmerman Verdict @ Gregg Surratt [...]