Trayvon Martin And The Need For Grace

In the absence of grace mankind suffers. In the absence of extending kindness and favor to one another mankind suffers through acts rooted in fear of the unknown and judgment of the unfamiliar. On February 26th, 2012, mankind suffered. 

George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenage boy. Mr. Zimmerman saw Trayvon, a person whom he did not know, walking through the gated community of which he was the neighborhood watch captain. He was overcome with fear. He saw a young boy with whom he was unfamiliar and whose style of dress was perhaps unfamiliar to that gated community. He cast judgment. Against police advice he followed Trayvon and as the distance between them grew smaller, the fear in Mr. Zimmerman’s heart grew larger. That night, Mr. Zimmerman withheld grace and caused Trayvon’s blood to stream alongside the very rain from which he was seeking cover beneath his hoodie. 

A simple act of kindness would have eradicated Mr. Zimmerman’s fears and judgments when it unveiled that he had been in pursuit of a teenage boy whose only intention was to get home safely with his snacks. Had Mr. Zimmerman taken a moment to set aside his fears and instead initiated a call of courtesy to Trayvon he may have avoided adding to the suffering of mankind. Today a mother suffers because she will have to visit the gravesite of the child she carried, gave birth, loved and nurtured for seventeen years. A father suffers because he has lost a son, and there is no greater bond than that between a man and his son. Mr. Zimmerman also suffers because his heart and mind will have to bear the burden of having carried out the murder of a young boy whose only crime was walking to the store to buy a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. 

And so this is the point at which we hope that grace may abound. This is the point at which Trayvon Martin’s family will have to extend to George Zimmerman the very thing he withheld from their beloved son and brother: grace. No, he may not deserve it, but that is, in part, the essence of grace. It is an unmerited act of kindness, given from the depths of a merciful heart.