If you're familiar at all with the Bible, the story of the Good Samaritan is probably in your repertoire. A guy walks along the road and some bad guys beat him up and leave him for dead. Two different types of religious leaders see him and walk on by. Then a guy who's not even supposed to like him stops, helps, pays for care, and checks on him the next day. That's the nutshell.
I wish George Zimmerman had been like that.
Admittedly, the story is wearing on us as a culture and media fatigue might be just around the corner. But I can't help but project about a decade down the road. I think about Trayvon Martin and the little guy who is currently occupying the Child #4 position in our family (aka Spiderman). For those catching up, we're fostering a cute little guy right now - and yes, he's African-American.
I told the Queen that a decade from now, Spiderman could have had a similar experience. That.Freaks.Me.Out.
I don't want to get into the Martin-Zimmerman fiasco even more than I already am. The case was tried. The verdict was rendered. I'm grateful for a country with a system of government (albeit imperfect) that allows trials and juries and verdicts. There's plenty of guilt, shame, regret, and pain to go around - to last a lifetime, to shape a lifetime even. Enough on that.
What I do know is that race still matters in this country. We haven't achieved MLK's Dream or the Apostle Paul's vision of no "Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female - because we're one in Christ" (Galatians 3.28).
And this brings me back to the Good Samaritan. I don't know if George Zimmerman claims the Christian faith or, more importantly, has been claimed by it. I do. And I know people who have. That faith demands that I recognize "no one according to the flesh" (2 Cor. 5.16). It demands that I don't walk by the beaten up guy on the side of the road because of his race nor immediately think the worst of a 17-year old kid who looks like he might be trouble in baggy pants and a hoodie. I'm not sure how the Good Samaritan would have shaped that fateful night, but I can't help but think that there was a better outcome than the one we have.
And I've rambled on (you should've seen this pre-edit!) to get to this point I guess: it was an individual who stopped to help the man. A single person. One soul. Not a system. Not a conglomerate of legalities, norms, mores, social pressures, and economic realities. A single person.
That's who stopped. That's who helped. That's to whom Jesus pointed as the example of a loving neighbor. A single person. I wish George Zimmerman had been that person.
I hope I am that person.
But that's just me thinking thoughts...