Summary: A sermon about the Christian response to perceived racial injustice, especially in the wake of the slaying of Trayvon Martin
Are there some things that challenge your sense of justice and fair play? Most of us get angry when we see someone cheated out of an opportunity or robbed of their liberty. When we watch the news and see men released from prison after serving decades on bogus charges, our sense of justice is disturbed. When people are prosecuted without reason and unreasonably persecuted we get angry.
Everyone has a breaking point. Even Jesus himself, usually soft spoken and philosophical in his demeanor, became angry when he saw the money changers in the temple. He turned over tables and shouted, "It is written that my father's house is the house of prayer, but ye have turned it into a den of thieves."- He was visibly angry.
There was never another occasion when he showed so much rage, but on that day the presence of so much sin, made him angry. Sin pushed his buttons.
Sometimes we are same way. We try to hold our peace on some subjects, but every now and then one subject or another really touches that last nerve. Consider the country boy who came to the city one Friday night in midst of the segregated South. He had been warned by the folks back home to keep his temper and not to be too upset by anything people did to him along the way. With a brand new pair of blue suede shoes on his feet he went into town and bumped into some ruffians who decided that this lone Negro was an easy target for some heckling and fun. They called him names. The young man stood silent. One slapped him on his head. He stood silent. He endured a list of personal harassments but he remembered his warning not to react to anything done to him. Finally, the ruffians saw his brand new blue suede shoes and decided to scoop mud and spread it all over the shoes. That was it. They young man responded as he started swinging left and right, "You can mess with me and give me the blues, don't mess with my blue suede shoes!"
Injustice has a way of challenging our sense of order. It stirs our anger and we must struggle hard to remain in control.
This is the feeling that many have in the aftermath of the February 2012 slaying Trayvon Martin in Sanford Florida. Seventeen year old Martin was killed by George Zimmerman. Martin was black. Zimmerman is Hispanic who passes for White. Zimmerman was a volunteer neighborhood watchman in a gated community, armed with a semiautomatic handgun. Martin was armed with a can of ice tea and a package of Skittles. Zimmerman claims self-defense. What has enflamed this situation are of the facts that: Zimmerman is a hundred pounds bigger and ten years older. He had the gun, not Martin. He followed Martin in his truck and he called 911 and was told to stand down and wait for police, but he ignored the instruction and later gunned down the youth in what he claimed was "self defense." No arrests were immediately made because of Florida's "Stand your ground law" which seems to give the right to shoot to persons who feel threatened. Many in the nation appear to be frustrated that little effort was taken to discern if his self-defense claim is valid.