What Kind of Eyes Do You Have?

I do not know this minister beyond what LIGHTNING ROD NYC PASTOR’S STUNNINGLY CONFRONTATIONAL SERMON ON TRAYVON MARTIN: ‘YOU SEE THE WORLD THROUGH YOUR BLACK EYES’ says (and it isn’t terribly positive), but he had a jarring reaction to the outcome of the Zimmerman trial:

[Dr. James David Manning] urged his mostly black congregation to stop viewing the world through their "black eyes" and start looking at it through the "blood of Jesus."

If they did that, the pastor explained, there would be no denying that the verdict in the Zimmerman was the correct one. He also told those who are convinced that Zimmerman is guilty that they only believe that because they are black.

Ouch! However, for Christians, it got even worse:

He called out those in the black community who refuse to consider any other possibility than Zimmerman racially profiled and killed Martin in cold blood.

"The only reason why you think that way is because you’re black," Manning preached. "You see the world, not through the blood of Jesus, you see the world through your black eyes. You have not changed yet."

Double-ouch!

I suspect even non-Christians are familiar with Matthew 7:1’s, "Judge not, that you be not judged" (English Standard Version). It is often used to bludgeon those who have the audacity to point out sinful behavior (and often wielded by those who don’t even believe in the inspiration or authority of Scripture). The problem is that it wasn’t uttered alone, instead Jesus continued…

For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:2-5).

Jesus wasn’t saying to never judge, just that you should judge correctly (and that you will be judged the same way you judge). On another occasion He was even more succinct:

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment (John 7:24).

When it comes to the awful results of the confrontation between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, you may have come to a reasonable conclusion given the evidence you have. However, if you aren’t going to judge by appearances, have you done the thorough research you should to make sure you have exercised "right judgment"? For instance, if you think Zimmerman is guilty because he didn’t go back to the car when the policeman ordered him to, do you realize that he was never told that, never ordered to do anything, the dispatcher wasn’t a policeman, and Zimmerman said he was heading back to his vehicle when Martin attacked him?

Did you rightly judge?

And it does go both ways (although I think by far it’s worse in the "hang Zimmerman" camp). A radio talk show host I like was talking to a TV talk show host I don’t like…and the former judged Martin’s friend Rachel Jenteal as not being terribly smart (in part) because she’s 19 and still in high school. The TV host pointed out that was because medical issues delayed her.

The guy I liked had judged incorrectly on appearance (although, in fairness to him, there is plenty of other evidence she isn’t "one smart cookie" as claimed and he wasn’t basing his opinion solely on her age in high school).

Ultimately, if you incorrectly condemn either Martin or Zimmerman you are sinning, and willing ignorance is not an excuse. If you chose only to accept evidence that agrees with you conclusion because it fits your preferred narrative, you are sinning. If in not letting a crisis go to waste you try to score political points and/or make it about something it had nothing to do with (e.g. there is no proof of racial profiling and it had nothing to do with stand your ground laws) you are sinning. If you come up with a new racial designation (white Hispanic) so you can stoke the fires of racial animosity and paranoia, you are sinning.

Yes, I personally think Zimmerman had no choice (short of just seeing if the guy who said he was going to kill him would actually follow through). That does not mean I think Zimmerman has zero culpability.

But that is not what is causing me to lose my hair over this situation, and it isn’t what Christians should worry most about.

If you are going to judge either one, rightly judge…and look at it through the blood of Christ and not just your eyes.


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  1. […] life was ended. There is more to the plot, but given the recent Ferguson, Missouri situation (and the Trayvon Martin one before it), Stone’s monologue at the end seemed especially apropos and […]

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