George Zimmerman’s acquittal is either a travesty of justice or justice served depending on who you are and the world you live in. Yes, the world you live in. I’m not referring to the issue of whether anyone in particular lives in the real world or one of their delusions, but indeed which actual world.
“I see the world as I have seen it.” – Layne Longfellow
People live in a world colored, textured, and understood through the prism of their experience. Anyone who lived through the Great Depression manages his or her finances and processes economic news quite differently from someone who never heard of the Great Depression or believes it occurred in 2009.
If you grew up in the deep south the concept of cold is completely different than it is to one who was raised in Siberia. The concept of sharing to an only child is far different than to one with 13 siblings.
The Similarities of JFK, 9/11, and the Zimmerman Verdict
If you remember John Kennedy’s assassination you know exactly where you were when you heard the news. You can see the room and the TV screen or hear Walter Cronkite’s radio broadcast. That moment will live with you forever. People born later wonder what in the world is wrong with those who can’t let go of an event that happened 50 years ago.
How many remember July 20, 1969? I do. It was the day men landed on the moon. The space race wasn’t on my radar and I was really annoyed when President Nixon declared the following day a national holiday suspending mail delivery. It was my birthday, I was a teen far from home eagerly anticipating birthday messages delayed by the lunar landing celebration. That was the reality of my world 44 years ago and permanently colors my memory of that momentous event.
Do you remember September 11, 2001? There is already a generation that sees 9/11 in much the same way they think of November 22, 1963. Old news. Ho-hum. There is no memory and therefore no world-view that includes the emotion of that tragic day. What about D-Day? Pearl Harbor? Gettysburg?
Everything you see and feel today depends on the world you have seen. You see the world as you have seen it.
“Justice for Trayvon” Depends on your World View
Some people believe Trayvon Martin posed a real threat to George Zimmerman. When the opportunity to go home presented itself in the four minutes that will forever remain a mystery to all but Mr. Zimmerman, Trayvon chose not to do so. George Zimmerman may have followed Trayvon initially, but when the young man could have gone home he did not.
Others see Trayvon Martin as a child murdered solely because of his hoodie and skin color. They see Mr. Zimmerman as present day evidence that the sins of the past are still alive and wreaking havoc on black families.
Neither position is completely accurate. With the exception of the evil actors who perpetuate pain and racial divide to serve their own purposes, the folks who believe this verdict was justice denied and those who see it as justice served both express genuine emotion based upon the truth in their hearts. The folks on one side live in a different world than those on the other.
Children are not born with any preset discrimination other than to prefer what is “mine” to what is “yours.” Children come selfish but are trained to be generous and share with others in the same way they are taught what differences matter by those around them. From the moment of birth children begin recording experiences that build their own unique world view.
Civil Rights legislation was passed just about the same time JFK was assassinated. It’s old news to those who didn’t experience it and they wonder why it still creates headlines. The remnants of what was still lives in the homes of people who personally experienced segregation and overt racism. They cannot simply forget it and one should not expect them to.
Endorse Respect Not Retaliation
Finally, after half a century, the conspiracy theorists have mostly retired and the JFK saga has largely been put to bed. Not so the racial divide. Particularly in the past few years when those same evil actors have manipulated and twisted history and wrongly judged the hearts of those they intend to vilify. The Zimmerman case stands out as evidence that the world view of some citizens is vastly different from that of others.
For most younger folks racial equality is the only reality they know. They never drew breath in a nation whose laws were not intended to be applied equally regardless of race, creed, or gender. In their experience the only tilt of preference in law seems to lean in favor of minorities. The Zimmerman verdict is evidence that the people of the United States live in different worlds and the worst offenders are those who threaten, berate, insult, and condemn anyone who sees things differently.
Finding Common Ground in the Zimmerman Verdict
Does any place of common ground remain? Are we really united as one nation under God? The only place there ever was unity was under God’s authority. The only possible way to find common ground is to accept God’s truth as our own because He is the only One who sees the entire picture. And therein is produced yet another place of separation. Some people believe God IS while others do not. Race and social issues have no prayer of being fully resolved when we can’t agree on the existence of God.
If any other label, identification, sympathy, doctrine, or philosophy trumps the relationship we share individually with Jesus Christ there will continue to be a war of the world views. Unless the vision of our Creator takes precedence, the fight over which flawed world view rules will continue. The only place we can come together is at the foot of the Cross.
One cannot expect someone who survived the Great Depression to forget it. It isn’t possible for someone who lost a loved one during World War II, or who remembers the day JFK was killed, or who watched the Twin Towers fall in real time to simply get over it. Trayvon Martin’s parents can’t forget the loss of their son. Perhaps we can at least understand that other world views are as equally valid s our own.
Experience is real and shapes our character and perception of the events around us. Folks who believe the Zimmerman verdict is justice denied truly see a different world than those who see it as justice served. Both world views are equally true and equally false. If you profess Jesus Christ as Lord of all, submit to His vision and not your own.
The Only Two World Views
When every experience, philosophy, and division is distilled to its essence only two world views remain; one that serves the God of the Bible and one that does not.
“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:14-15