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The verdict is in. George Zimmerman has been found not guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. The reactions have been strong and may only become more intense and polarizing as analysis of the case continues to roll in. Some believed justice has been done; others that injustice has been committed.

Regardless of the reaction, this remains certain: Trayvon Martin is dead, a mom and dad will never see their son again, and Zimmerman’s life will never be the same.

We Mourn

“Even though I am broken hearted my faith is unshattered I WILL ALWAYS LOVE MY BABY TRAY”

That was the tweet that Tracy Martin, father of Trayvon Martin, sent out within an hour of the verdict. His sentiment resonates with any parent. The deep pain and sorrow can never be fully expressed. As Christians we respond not according to media manipulation but by Scripture, and God’s Word encourages us to mourn with Martin’s family.

The apostle Paul, instructing the church in Rome on the implications of new life in Christ, challenged them and us to “weep with those who weep” (12:15). I can only imagine the devastation that must have swept over Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, and Tracy Martin as they learned of his death. The attention given to such high-profile cases can numb our senses to the real-life humanity of the situation. A real boy had a mother and father.  Regardless of how he lived, he was made in the image of God (Gen 1:27). He played like other little boys, became a teenager, and then, at the age of 17, died at the hands of another man. It’s a tragedy. We weep for their loss and pain. We cry out to God for comfort and faith for this family.

And We Pray for Zimmerman

George Zimmerman’s life will never be the same. The jury has declared him not guilty, but for many observers he will forever be a cold-blooded murderer. His name is ruined. He killed an unarmed teenager. It must haunt him at times to remember the moment that he can never take back. Zimmerman needs Jesus. Zimmerman needs to know today that if he died without knowing the saving work of Christ, this tumultuous life is nothing compared to the wrath that awaits him. He needs to know that his sin, not in part but the whole, can be forgiven if he trusts in Jesus. We don’t know if he is a Christian, but we should be praying for his salvation and his safety. The trial may have ended, but we pray that if for any reason he lied about what happened that day, he would confess and seek forgiveness. In light of the jury’s decision, if it is correct, we should pray that Zimmerman finds peace.

This case has already reopened important discussions about race relations in America. We should, therefore, also pray for our nation as we continue to pursue racial reconciliation and harmony. As old hurts have resurfaced, we must seek to understand if we want to be understood. Let’s pray for just laws and more than surface change. We ask God for gospel transformation that leads us to accept and love one another regardless of ethnicity. With this posture of prayer, our ongoing discussions of race and culture will assume a posture of humility and grace.

Before long another confusing and dreadful situation will become a national news story. Most of us will know details only secondhand, though we’ll be expected to offer an opinion. So we must look first to the Word to be informed by God’s timeless guidance. And we will mourn with those who mourn as we pray without ceasing.