A Gun to a Skittle fight

There’s one thing that could easily have prevented Trayvon Martin’s death.  It trumps the racism discussion.  It goes beyond the conversation about a corrupt police department.  I’m not saying who should be found guilty of what, but there’s one thing that is certain: If there’d been no gun there that evening, young Martin would be alive today.  Before I get comments about the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution, be assured that the right to bear arms isn’t my point either.

Zimmerman had a permit for his weapon, but he brought a gun to a Skittle fight.  Yes, there had been a series of thefts in the area and Zimmerman had a right to protect his neighborhood.  However, in his zeal for justice (if that was his motivation) he overshot the mark.  He either forgot or never knew his role in the process.  The nature of the Neighborhood Watch organization isn’t to enforce the law but to protect their communities by alerting the authorities about law breakers.  The recording of the 911 call made by Zimmerman makes it clear that he was advised by the professional not to engage with the young man he had suspected might break the law.  If the gunman had been there just to watch, the gun would not have been necessary.

I’ve found that my approach to protecting the name of Jesus Christ has often overshot the mark.  Yes, it is my right (and obligation) to not shy away from making clear the Good News to everyone.  In the past, though, my zeal was the equivalent of bringing a gun to a Skittle fight.  My role as a Christian isn’t to watch for sinners so that I can bring down the gauntlet of eternal judgment, it’s to make people aware of the awesome mercy of a God who loves them beyond their wildest dreams.

We miss the opportunity to give greater insight to people wondering about the real Jesus because we consider their actions or beliefs about him to be an ultimate rejection of the truth.  We’re always ready for a faith brawl when, more often than not, people aren’t looking for trouble.  If Jesus could hang out with “sinners” without condemning them – and he had a right to – then we must follow his lead.  But, they’re just going about life and we drag them into a spiritual gun fight.  When that happens, spiritual casualties are the result.

In Matthew 10:34 Jesus says ““Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. (NIV)”  The sword he’s speaking of is division among people who have heard the truth.  Luke’s use of the word “division” instead of Matthew’s word “sword” helps make the point.  Before we take up the sword, let’s first be sure those we’re protecting ourselves from have at least had the opportunity to reject the real Jesus, instead of a misinformed picture of the Messiah that we may have given them.

And, let’s be absolutely sure we know our role in God’s plan of salvation for the world: to be his witnesses, not his judges.

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6 thoughts on “A Gun to a Skittle fight

  1. Excellent post Dave,
    What an excellent way to put the tragic story of Trayvon Martin in perspective.
    I have to give people the same level of mercy that God has given me when I witness to them about Christ. Jesus could have condemned the woman at the well ,but he lovingly said to her he did not condemn her and to go and leave her life of sin.

    When I think about the love of god it overwhelms me. You can tell that the writers of the New testament thought Christ was coming back before the first century ended. His love was so great that even they could not comprehend that he loved the world enough to let it go on 2000 more years than they dreamed possible. Gods love is so powerful that if the woman at the well did not respond to it in repentance like she did ,then she probably would not respond to his wrath in repentance either.

    • Esau, I’m certain that you show the mercy of God in your life. That’s all I’ve ever seen from you. The woman at the well is a great example of this. I’d thought about including a comment about Zacchaeus, too. Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. Peat moss to a concrete fight?

    Dave,

    There’s one thing that could easily have prevented Trayvon Martin’s death, it would have been if Trayvon hadn’t slammed Zimmerman’s head on to the concrete several times or hit him on the nose.

    The child, Trayvon, is a 17 year old male. Did he toss skittles at Zimmerman, I must have missed that news report?

    Some reports state that the ‘child’ hit Zimmerman in the nose, knocking him down and then slammed Zimmerman’s head into the concrete many times. I am not sure of how important the skittles were at that point.

    We’ll learn more as time passes. Zimmerman doesn’t seem pure as the wind driven snow, however, if the accounts of the “child’s” actions are correct, perhaps an adult reaction was correct.
    Perhaps gun owners should also carry mace and stun guns in addition to a weapon.

    In Love,

    Rob

    • Hey Rob,

      You make some good points. That’s why I’m not convinced either way in this situation. There’s just too much that we don’t know yet.

      My comparison is between Zimmerman’s approach to his role as a volunteer for Neighborhood Watch and a Christian’s approach to his/her role as being Jesus’ light to the world – and that’s my sole purpose in this post. Zimmerman has a right to protect the community, especially in response to the recent crime spree. But, he ended up pursuing someone who, at least before the alleged beating, had no intention of bringing harm to the community.

      Several officials of law enforcement in the Bradford area have stressed that civilians volunteering for Neighborhood Watch are forbidden to either carry a weapon or to pursue someone who looks suspicious. They’re told to stay in their homes and call the established phone chain to keep tabs on the potential criminal.

      This blog is not a political statement, my friend. At the very least, Zimmerman misjudged his role and rejected the instructions given by those who had given him authority for his task. The title of the blog is a play (apparently a poor one) on the phrase “he brought a knife to a gun fight.” It refers to people who find themselves underequipped for confrontation. My pun is on the preparation for the battle; Zimmerman overprepared for a showdown with Martin – and the approach to the confrontation is the key to this blog.

      Maybe his gun gave him the confidence he needed to supercede what he had been empowered to do? Maybe these rules were put into effect to prevent this very thing from happening?

      Here’s my point: God has given us the great commission, but there are those – armed with the righteousness of the Word of God – who overstep the charge given to us. They end up attacking people who don’t know Jesus in an effort to defend the Son of God against those who are just going about their business. Ironically, those sent to bring Jesus to the world end up being the primary cause as to why they reject him.

      Thanks for seeking clarification on my point, Rob.

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