While we’re waiting on the George Zimmerman jury’s decision maybe we need to take a personal poll of our own shortcomings. Of course, Zimmerman’s offense is more than a shortcoming, but I’m neither judge nor jury in this case. I’m going to look at my own reflection in the mirror rather than glue myself to the TV awaiting the verdict.
I think of the story where a young boy walked into a drug store and asked to use the telephone. He dialed a particular number and said: “Hello, Dr. Anderson…Do you want to hire a boy to cut the grass and run errands for you? Oh, you already have somebody? Are you completely satisfied with the boy you have? Okay, then, goodbye, Doctor.” As the boy thanked the druggist for letting him use his phone, the druggist said: “Just a minute, Son…If you’re looking for work, I could use somebody like you.” The boy replied, “Thank you, Sir, but I already have a job” The druggist asked, “But didn’t I just hear you trying to get a job from Dr. Anderson?” “Not exactly, Sir,” the boy replied, “You see, I’m the boy who is working for Dr. Anderson. I was just checking up on myself.”
Rather than pointing fingers at either George Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin, we need to check up on ourselves. What would we have done differently? What can we do in the future? It may be that George and Trayvon both were ultimately acting out of a place of fear or mistrust. Something as simple as an introduction, or even the briefest of conversations, very likely could have averted this tragedy. How does that inform our most basic encounters of other people every day?
How can we make this world a place where we get along and truly love our neighbors? Jesus and the Gospels declare everyone as sinner and potential saint. Everyone is counted as desirable by God even if they don’t fit our neighborhood demographic. We don’t have any right to stick our noses up in the air and say that we’re any better than anyone else. Our fumbling efforts at making the world a better place is indictment enough. We all know that we can do better, and need to quit making assumptions that either paints a guy as a “stalker” or as an “*%^#!&” crook. We are all guilty, and the responsibility falls upon us to make things right for both the Trayvon Martin’s and the George Zimmerman’s of the world.
For me, the answer comes through Jesus and more than wearing a W.W.J.D. bracelet. To change the world we need to wear a W.W.J.R.D. (What Would Jesus REALLY Do?) bracelet and then actually do it! There’s a fable about making the world a better place that really challenges me: A sparrow says to a dove, “Tell me the weight of a single snowflake?” “Nothing more than nothing,” was the dove’s answer. “In that case, I must tell you a marvelous story,” said the sparrow, “I sat on a branch of a fir tree, close to its trunk when it began to snow – not heavily, not in a raging blizzard – no, just like a dream, without a sound, and without any violence, and since I didn’t have anything else better to do, I started counting the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952. When the 3,741,953rd snowflake dropped onto the branch, ‘nothing more than nothing,’ as you say, the branch broke off.” Having said that, the sparrow flew away. The dove, since Noah’s time an authority on the matter, thought about the story for awhile, and finally said to herself, “Perhaps only one person’s sacrifice is lacking for peace to come to the world.”
What can I do, or we do to make the world a better place?