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Our Response to Loss and Controversy

Thanks to all of you who have been willing to honestly think about what a follower of Christ brings to an issue as tragic as the death of Trayvon, and as controversial as the law’s reaction to George.

In addition to appreciating so much of what you have already said, here’s where I am.

Seems to me that it’s important to remember that followers of Christ have every reason to see the value of a true story. Our faith, hope, and love are rooted in the truth of the story of human injustice, overridden by God’s own answer for ultimate justice and mercy.

In this true story we have the death of an innocent man, and the misuse and manipulation of due process. Yet before his death, Jesus had occasion to say “Give to Caesar, what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to him” (Matt 22:21). He was responding to the question of taxes. But the implications are broader.

Followers of Jesus, therefore know that what belongs to Caesar is an often misused, yet necessary authority. What belongs to God is a knowledge of all truth, even to the motives of our heart, and the right to ultimately hold all of us accountable.

Photo by: Lisa Ruokis

In the middle of all of this, our Teacher made it clear that we owe one another love (Rom 13:8). Even the lowly and now obsolete US penny reminds us of what we owe God.

An inspired apostle Paul tells us that love is first of all patient and kind and does not envy or boast (1Cor 13:4). This means that if we are following Christ we have access to a spirit and grace that does not claim more than we know (doesn’t boast); or more than what God has given us (doesn’t envy); but does show consideration for one another (is kind); while not getting ahead of due process (is patient).

As this plays out, seems that followers of Jesus also have reason to keep reminding ourselves to focus on our own hearts before trying to imagine the motives of others (Luke 6:42).

My hunch is that when we are giving priority to our own thoughts and motives, we will be more inclined to be patient with the understandable anger and frustration of those who know that those they love  have been routinely, or at least often, deprived of both justice and mercy.  At the same time those who feel deprived of justice have no better answer than to give Caesar a chance, while believing that God is watching (Rom 12:17-19).

This obviously isn’t the whole picture. But please help me to test these thoughts as together we try to determine what a follower of Christ brings to the tragic story of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.

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34 Responses to “Our Response to Loss and Controversy”

  1. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    If all holds steady, we will have to make our way through a criminal trial. There will, no doubt, be much public demonstration and much comment and dialogue – helpful and otherwise.

    I agree with you, Mart, that the hope we have in the U.S. Court is as fair a picture of the truth of the matter as it is possible to have. Our prayers must be with the bench – the counselors – the witnesses – even the enforcement of Mr. Zimmerman’s safe custody. All the families and friends of the dead man and the defendant are struggling with the emotions and grief.

    The fruit of all this will be a case establishing a precedent for the “stand your ground” law. The wheels turn slowly, but they grind mighty fine. I also pray for each one who is part of this equation to uphold justice to the end of the ordeal.


  2. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Mart – as usual, your posts are very convicting to me and I always see how I am putting my thoughts first without considering others.

    I really do want to love my neighbor because I am a follower of Christ. I don’t know what I can do in this one particular story to uphold justice, but I am praying for these people. Honestly, my main prayer is that God will soften hearts that seem so hardened. Yes, my own as well, as I believe my heart gets hardened by the constant bombardment of tragedy in this world.

    Also, just curious, but the Rom 10:17-19 link – was it supposed to be Rom 12:17-19?

  3. florida7sun says:

    Good morning Mart:

    I was blessed by Julie Ackerman Link’s devotion in today’s Our Daily Bread. Reflecting on “Stop and See” my heart told me to also, always, Look and Listen.

    It is so important to look into God’s Word and listen to His Spirit. The internalization of Jesus prepares us to face and overcome the fiery darts thrown at us each day.

    As we take up our cross, He shoulders the burden with us. We can then be a blessing to others.

    Life is so very precious to Him. He is the ever flowing purity of love without spot or blemish. The Lord Jesus desires we share His life through a loving, personal relationship with Him and each person He places in our path.

    His love for us and all of creation offers rest, peace, joy and wisdom: all we need for a victorious life in Christ Jesus.

    As written in ODB, “Our greatest strength may be our ability to stand still and trust God.”


  4. poohpity says:

    From a mother crying out for an arrest in the death of her son, to an already polarized nation, sides are further drawn to where now some seem to forget we have a God whom we trust and has put authorities over us to administer justice. (Romans 13:1,2,3,4NIV) We can either run around with all kinds of accusations which leads to a linch mob mentality or be patient and allow the facts to slowly come out and put our hope in God. (Psalm 27:13,14 NIV; Psalm 31:23,24)

  5. Mart De Haan says:

    Yes, tracey5tgbtg, thank you for catching that wrong reference. I’ll correct it now.

  6. marma says:

    Ephesians 6:12-15. Let’s “Stand our ground” in prayer, remembering there is a spiritual battle going on as well. Praying for believers everywhere in the power God gives.

    Thanks for making the connection back to Christ, Mart. We certainly need His wisdom and guidance every day. James 1:5-6.

  7. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, you are a very wise man. I should have followed your lead. God Bless you.

  8. kaynancy says:

    I see a mom cry for the loss of a child. I see a BIG man
    whom was told to STAND DOWN and WAIT for the POLICE to
    handle the situation then shoot a boy. Thus, demonic activity happened.So Now it is time for Agreement prayer that the Lord Remedy this situation….and all parties find Jesus as Lord and Savior.

    However, when the police say DO NOT ENGAGE that means
    STAND DOWN and so a child is dead and a man is going to prison. This is not a win situation for either party. But, prayer works so I would ask all pray for the families loss and the man find Jesus who shot the boy.

  9. poohpity says:

    This morning in church I was reminded of the fact that Jesus came not only to give us eternal life but a better life while we are here (John 10:10 NLT). A better life so that we can touch the lives of others for Christ I think sometimes we get confused as to what that looks like but we are given an example to follow by the life of Jesus. Jesus taught us to not be so quick to judge or condemn others because of the mercy we each have been shown in our own lives. Matt 7:1-4 Because of the salvaged life we are given a fresh start to begin life again with a purpose and that purpose is to do good things for others. Eph 2:10 Do we look like the new masterpiece of our new life in Christ or are we still bound to what people look like of the world that do not bear the name of Christ or lead by the media? People that see color, culture, gender, political differences, and the inability to wait for the courts or God to bring light to the truth. We seem to love truth unless it holds us accountable for our behaviors.

  10. gmcduffey says:

    It appearse to be racial, but mostly on Zimmerman part and the people just want fairness and justice. As stated in a previous comment, if it had been a black man that killed a white boy, the man would have been locked up immediately without question. But it took a public outcry before they even arrested Zimmerman. I don’t think it’s a racial thing that will divide people by color or race because people of all race,color, nationality are all equally applaud by the authorities mishandling of proper police procedure in such an incident, that is what the rallies, marches and calls for justice were about.The media and politicians have pumped the issue up, but, if they hadn’t Zimmerman would have got off thinking he could kill again and hide behind that same flawed law. Thanks to all the publicity Zimmerman will now go through the proper processes of the law as he should.It’s not vengence people want, it’s fairness and justice. A young man life was cut short at the hand of another man, by law the accused has to be arrested, processed, and scheduled to have his day in court, do process.

  11. bratimus says:

    When a tragedy like this happens and results in the death of a youth, people need to put a face on the why did this happen.

    In this case the mask that is being put to it is a racial hate crime.

    I feel that this boils down to, a man (Zimmerman) was trying to succede in a certian area (lawenforment) and trying to succede in his fathers eyes.

    Racism is a big business for some people and some groups, and they will try to put the mask of racism on everything if they could. You have to have racism if ur business is in it.

    Racial profiling is a good defence strategy.

    the appearance of somthing isn’t always the truth of the matter.

    As Christian we aren’t to be mislead by appearance, but to look for the truth.

  12. celsber1 says:

    Goodmorning all!
    My name is Cheryl and I’m a 43 years old black female. I have a son who is 19 years old and is 6’6 and at 13 years old he was already close to 5’9″ my point is, I don’t want society, mostly non-blacks to look at my son as a threat.

    My son is a lovable, kind hearted person who will go out his way to help anyone (a big Teddy Bear), but because the sterotypes of black people, my son could have been a Travon Martin(dead).

    God says love everyone and treat others as you want to be treated! Granted the Media plays a great part in all of this, but ask yourself, if the crime would’ve have been black on black would’ve you have thought the Media was going overboard, I think not!

    Lets be real about the situation; a young boy is dead because someone chose to get out of his car and follow this young man after the police dispatcher told him not to.
    If everyone will follow Jesus and not the non-beleiver who wanted Jesus cruified we will be okay!Put God first in all you do and you will never go wrong! Jesus came to all his people, not just one group.

  13. rivergal says:

    I’m sad to see in these comments a parroting of media talking points. I don’t mind getting an email about the latest malware on Facebook that can easily be found out as false on Snopes. But when you’re quoting “facts” about the death of a young man and the fate of another, I’d sure appreciate people reading up…about the likelihood, based on the 911 tape, of whether Zimmerman followed after the 911 call (looks unlikely)…or whether this is even about “stand your ground” (in legal terms, it’s not).

    What I do see, as a resident of Sanford for 30 years, is business owners of all colors whose livlihoods had been holding on by a thread, now see that livlihood sliding closer to the edge of the cliff because their customers aren’t coming to a town that has been labeled “unsafe”. I see people who don’t even know our community telling outright lies about the people in our community, impugning the reputation of leaders…some who love God and all who take seriously their ressponsibility to all the citizens they serve.

    What are most of us, that actual people who live and work in Sanford, doing? I should say I speak for myself, but I’ve found I’m pretty average in these respects. The reality is, we’re grieving and we’re frustrated. We all grieve together about the sad death of a young man, and we pray for his family. We’re frustrated that the media generally ignores or condones vigilantism. we grieve over how our town has won unearned slander that will be hard to recover from. We greive that no matter what the outcome of the trial, whatever the truth is revealed to be, many lives are changed forever because of the actions of that night.

    More than once I’ve encountered a person of color in a store, and we both are being so careful, needing the other to see that we are not the stereotype that the media has created for each each of us. We both feel conscripted by force into a racial war, and are fighting against it. I don’t know – maybe this part is good, because it causes me to examine whether I am daily loving my neighbor as well as I should. What I’d like to see is that we continue to love one another, without the palpable tension being the driving force.

  14. poohpity says:

    There was a crime committed period. There are crimes committed everyday that are horrible and may be news worthy dependent on the circumstances and which reporter has the ability to make it big news. In 2010 there were reported 10,329,135 of those there were 14,748 murders. People that is 10 millions crimes with no color attached to these and 14 thousand, almost 15 thousand murders.

    I know that Jesus can change lives because before Christ I was in jail in Florida, Ohio, 3 times in Arizona and for attempted murder in Oregon and since Christ not even one time in jail but have brought more than 50 people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Go figure.

    Rather than discussing the color of skin would it not be the Christian thing to do, to go out and spread the gospel and change more peoples lives for Christ. God needs people of every color to do His work. He is waiting for workers that do more than sit in a pew on Sunday and tell everyone how badly they have been treated but those workers who know how badly He was treated when He did nothing wrong yet died in our place so that our lives could be changed.

    Obviously Jesus knew what laid ahead in time and the trials, troubles, prejudges, sorrows, and bad times all humanity will be going through and gave us a set of wings to hide under and a knowing that a Mighty God could take all our cares so that we could be comforted and bring comfort to each other through Him.

    Jesus loves the little children of the world, red, yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight Jesus loves the children of the world. We are all God’s children, so please act like it and go and do what He asked us to do, spread the gospel. ;-) I bet there will be less crime.

    Oh by the way I am red because I am covered by the precious blood of the Lamb. ;-)

  15. oneg2dblu says:

    celsber1… your premise is… my son could have been Travon. Here is another premise… your son could also have been a Zimmerman. The only difference I see, is how each acted according to their own way, and what resulted. Both living the lives they wanted before this confrontation brought on by what we do not yet fully know, but tradically resulted in the life of one being taken.
    Skin Color becomes the primary issue if we want to make it one. But, didn’t Color became the topic when a Police official inquiry asked for it? Asked for it only for idenitification purposes, not for some type of profiling, not for a preconceived hunting expedition, but a clarification of identity for the Police to help them do their job more effectively.
    They asked the question, because a concerned citizen did not take the law into his “own hands first,” but contacted the authorities for their guidence. If only we could do the same thing and contact Our Lord first for the guidence we need to have, to have a Christ Centered discussion, instead of our overly opinionated searching, to support further separation and racial bias.
    Is God pleased or honored by our strogly drawn lines of bias about color? Is God pleased to know we have already made up our minds even without having all the facts?
    As pooh stated, “We seem to love truth until it hold us accountable for our behavior.” Let’s all be accountable to Christ first, then our differences of opinion may be more tempered to His way of thinking. Just a thought without the color issue always taking the precident. Gary

  16. narrowpathseeker says:

    Celsber,……. Gary makes a very valid point in considering that Zimmerman could have been your son. It seems that those who focus on their race 24/7 and act as though they have the corner on adversity and heartache, just can’t relate to the problems of anyone else…it’s got to be about them. And where is this Non Black…terminology coming from? Are there but two races now…Black and non Black? “Non Blacks” get angry/offended too. I was angry when O.J. was found not guilty. I was angry when a young Black man was fired for stealing and then killed 8 White coworkers because he said they were racist(THEY WERE NOT). I was angry when a young Black girl falsely accused several young White boys of rape….and later it was found that she lied. I don’t WANT to be angry and hateful…so I focus on people like Bill Cosby, Blacks with attitudes like Kingdomkid7, or the Blacks that have married into my family and their priceless children who are now my blood relatives. I try to focus on my many blessings that I take for granted. When I forget to do these things I start to get ugly and miserable and separated from God.

    Have you ever considered that most of the abolitionists that sacrificed and risked their lives where “Non Black” or White as it was. Have you ever considered that without heavy White support MLKs dream might still be a dream? Have you ever considered that it was other Blacks that captured, sold and delivered their Black brothers to the horrific slave ships? Have you ever considered that despite the lack of gratitude for any good that Whites have done, that many Whites still support MLK’s dream?

    I’m sorry if you take offense to my comments, but I don’t see how the races can ever get along if concerns for one another are not mutual. I hope you find some peace in those thoughts somewhere down the road if you should choose to think about this.

  17. musicman2012 says:

    I consider myself to be a born-again Christian; and, as such, this situation with Trevon Martin & Zimmerman is,to say the least, confusing! I believe, from what I have seen, read, and heard that Mr. Zimmerman was just doing what he believed to be his job! I also believe that he DOES NOT deserve to be charged with 2nd-degree murder! If I understand the “Stand-your-ground” law correctly, and I HAVE read my local (Indiana’s) version of it, if Mr. Zimmerman felt in fear for his life, then LETHAL force in defending himself WAS justified!!! I DO feel sorry for the boy’s family, but I DO NOT think that Mr. Zimmerman’s actions were racially motivated in ANY way! Thanks for “listening”, and God bless y’all!!

  18. davids says:

    I would like to think that a swift and open court case will sort this out in people’s minds, including us here. I am afraid that won’t happen.

    The case will likely take many months to prosecute. It seems a short while ago that another case in Florida involving a mother assused of killing her daughter left many people feeling that justice had not been done.

    In addition, if the defense relies on the Stand Your Ground law, then the case could take many years going through appeals up to the state Supreme Court, or even the US Supreme Court.

    In other words, this case could be very divisive for a long time and we should not allow it to divide us. I cringe at the thought of people representing Christianity appearing on television argueing both sides of this for years to come.

  19. bubbles says:

    Dear Friends,

    Please keep Steve (SFDWV) in your prayers.

    Thank you.

  20. narrowpathseeker says:

    Bubbles, I will of course pray for Steve anytime for anything, but did I miss something? I was under the impression that he merely chose to stay away from this subject.

  21. yahoodlum says:

    It’s like the days following the King assassination in ’68 with all the riots, fires, etc. And the media is doing it’s best to keep the flames fanned, it seems. The part of town I live in is almost 80% black and the crimes committed by blacks against blacks are often just as bad or worse than what Zimmerman is accused of. But not even close to the outcry for justice. It’s the society that we live in. There’s hatred on both sides of the fence, but if you listen to the media, only whites are guilty of bigotry. I know many white Christians, who are suspicious of blacks, and vice versa. The Civil Rights Act may have changed the laws, but it cannot change human behavior. Times have changed but not people. Unfortunately, it won’t be resolved until Jesus comes back and the government will be on HIS shoulders.
    I speak as one white man who was a racist before I was saved 37 years ago. But then Jesus. He changed my heart. He changed my mind. He changed my nature. He IS able to save to the uttermost. God softened my heart and sent me a sweet, beautiful, spiritual wife who is black and we’ve been married for almost 21 years. And, I would gladly lay down my life to save hers. I pray for all involved.

  22. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you Claudia for your loving talk, and thanks Yahoodlum for your testimony, a softened heart, that is the work of Jesus.
    We all should have our hearts softened more and more.
    Justice should be there, if there is a killing it should be taken to court.
    Here in Europe the case of the white man in Noway who shot 77 people last July, is taken to court, it is on television every day. He considers himself a crusader, and wants to save Europe from a multi cultural society, and that is the way he did it: by killing
    What struck me is that the people who are victims say: We want to stay as we were before the shooting, we do not want hatred to change our hearts. We want an open society, and we still want that, there is room for everybody, race, culture, without fearing each other.
    That is great! He didn’t say he was a christian, but that is the spirit of Jesus.
    We can make a difference, go and talk to the one in your neighbourhood of a different race, religion, get to know him/her.
    Repression does not work, that’s how God handled the Israelites in the Old Testament, but did this make them a better people, no it didn’t. Then Jesus came, and showed another way: (as many already have stated here)
    love your neighbour, help them, be patient with them, encourage them, give them a job, and do not be so harsh on them.
    Give them a fair chance, a living, a good salary, not a salary that is so small that these people need 3 jobs to earn a living, and can hardly be at home with their children.
    PS I pray for Steve too, God knows his situation and his needs.

  23. ilovegod says:

    What do I bring as a follower of Christ:
    In the Natural, I see Pent-Up Frustrations. Just because you have never experienced discrimination or injustice does not mean it does not exists. I can see past the bad attitudes, incorrect opinions, anger, the new media twists, and accusations as people stand up and speak out for what they believe to be true. What you are seeing is not just a Trayvon and Zimmerman thing or a black and white thing. This is pent up frustrations of a people who know all too well that policemen, judges, and others in authority can and have gotten away with murder or cover-ups; and there is nothing you can do about it. Dead men don’t talk! We live in a crazy, scary America with no absolutes. Right and wrong is based on relevancy. One nation under GOD is becoming unconstitutional. The laws are written for everyday people to obey and political exemptions for those who make the laws or a privileged few. Oh, but GOD!
    Spiritually, as a follower of Christ, I believe that GOD uses people and circumstances to accomplish His purpose. We may not understand what GOD is doing. (I see things that people use to get away with for 10, 20, 30 years being uncovered faster and faster. Do you see this, from the White House to the Out-house and even in God’s House? Maybe it’s just me.) We, even as Christians, see through a dim lens based on our experiences and perceptions of right and wrong. We want to truly live by godly principles–and also defend the weak, protect the innocent, and stand for what is right. Maybe I’m just an optimist with a realistic view, or maybe its passive aggressive. I believe we must take a stand against injustice and remain nonviolent in our defiance to accept unjust and ungodly character and laws. Either way, I do trust the Lord to lead and guide me every day. GOD is still in control of the outcome, and my life. Amen.

  24. poohpity says:

    I have learned a couple of lessons through this case. One is that the media has a lot of power if we as Christians give into it and do not search for truth. Second is just how truthful scriptures are when they say things like Proverbs 25:23NLT As surely as a north wind brings rain, so a gossiping tongue causes anger! Gossiping or rumors are usually not filled with truth or truth that is only seen through one person’s perspective and that is not truth at all. Also that we need to really be careful who we listen to and get our information from. 1 Tim 5:13NLT And if they are on the list, they will learn to be lazy and will spend their time gossiping from house to house, meddling in other people’s business and talking about things they shouldn’t.

    If I am not mistaken we are to spread the Gospel not gossip. If we say we stand for truth then why is it we will listen to things and not be patient until the whole truth comes out?

    I also thought that as Christians we are to look for the good in others and think about those things. Phil 4:8-9NLT but again calling ourselves by that name, Christians, it would be nice if we were a light to truth, goodness, loving kindness, and above all else one’s who seek the truth and find it in God alone. Is it not God whom we trust in?

  25. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    In any society there is good and bad.
    We pride ourselves, both here in the UK and you in the USA, in having a fair and just system when dealing with crimes like this, but no matter how hard we try we often fail.
    I have just been watching the trial in Norway of the man who killed 77 young people for the cause and in the name of christian beliefs.
    Hitler did the same!
    Apparently Islam is taking over Europe and us christians should stand up and fight. He said he was the first of many to come to defend our “way of life”.
    I actually beleive this man to be right in the fact there will be a lot more conflict with regard to our “multi racial” societies.
    Black, White, Islam, Christian, it does not matter, our nations are trapped by the “end time” game plan that will try and tear us apart.
    Our duty, as followers of Christ, is to be the salt that takes away this bitterness and to come alongside all those that are trodden down in despair by the hatred that is overwhelming us.
    Only Jesus can restore and heal and bring peace to our lives.
    I have been away from here for awhile because someone near me, a neighbour, has had a need.
    The parable of the good samaritan tells us who our neighbour is and what to do when we find him or her in trouble.
    Our duty is to our Lord and then to our neighbour.
    Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and your neighbour as yourself.
    On your coins it says “In God we Trust”
    start believing it!


  26. marma says:

    I have been blessed as well by reading this blog. The heartaches and the hope, together.

    Thanks to all of you for pointing us back to Christ, to following Him, to being salt and light.

    The world is a sad, hurting, and troubling place that desperately needs what only God can give. May we each as believers be that conduit of His love and truth.

    To do justly and love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

  27. davids says:

    This incident also causes me to reflect on my own conflicts. The truth is that often when things get out of hand both people are somewhat to blame. I use something someone says to justify an even harder or more aggresive position. That is not the way of Jesus.

  28. phpatato says:


    Please relay to Steve that I will be praying for him and his family. I look forward to him returning real soon!

    Please keep us somewhat posted…according, of course, to his privacy.

    God Bless


  29. bubbles says:


    Please continue to pray for Glenna,Steve, and Matt.

  30. lovely says:

    Been thinking about this case,reminds me of God’s judgement day where all of us will have to stand before God as the Judge to account for what we’ve done on earth.
    Be it Trayvon or George they all like us face the fact that we will face our creator one day. 1 Peter 4:5
    Like every movie has an ending who can ever know the ending but the Director Himself?
    But if i must stand before the great judge i’ll call upon Jesus to be my Lawyer. In Christ alone i stand (OUr citizen ship is in heaven) Philippians 3:20 , that’s what makes us different from the world.

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