Monday, March 26, 2012

More Thoughts on the Murder of Trayvon Martin: A Look at Personal Responsibility in Regards to Hate- Toya

In the words of Lauryn Hill, the following goes "for me first".

What's bothering me more than anything (for the time being anyway) regarding the murder of Trayvon Martin is how this tragedy has become so politically charged.  I don't understand for the life of me how this matter became so complex. A grown man shot and killed an unarmed child after being told by the authorities to not react. Evidence is being revealed moment by moment that he did not do so in self defense and yet he is free.  And yet so far people have blamed everything from Trayvon Martin walking around in a gated community in the first place (where his father probably chose to reside because it seemed safe, GO FIGURE) to the very hoodie that he was rightfully wearing because it was raining. I don't quite understand how the victim is to blame here. I think we can all admit that our legal system is jacked up and so many changes need to be made. In addition to that though, I feel that we also need to take an honest look at ourselves regarding some things that a lot of us deal with personally: our own hate, anger and bitterness.

The thing that is becoming more and more apparent to me is that the same seed of hate exacerbated by fear that caused George Zimmerman to go against authorities and take matters into his own hands (he should be in jail on that alone) is the same seed of hate that many of us carry for either a group of individuals or someone in particular. It comes from the exact same place. That scares me. A lot. In small doses I see it almost everyday on my Facebook and Twitter timelines: this political party hating that political party, Christians hating Christians, women hating men, men hating women, people hating on haters who hate on them (enough of this already, please), people hating famous people that they have never even met and so on and so forth. Sure some may just shrug it off and chalk some of these things up to bitterness or "righteous anger". That's almost valid until you look at the definitions of bitterness and hate.

Bitterness- resentment: a feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-will
Hate-  intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.

The dangerous roots of hate and bitterness are kissing cousins and they do not lie stagnant. Hate and bitterness are both fueled by anger and regardless of being ignored or fed, they grow.  Sometimes they do more harm inside the person in which they grow and can render someone emotionally paralyzed.  In this case, sometimes they grow so uncontrollably that people on the outside get hurt or worse.  No one just wakes up one day and becomes a cold blooded killer of an unarmed child. Something first had to grow.  No one just wakes up and opens fire on a group of abortion workers. Something first had to grow.  I hope that this tragedy encourages us to make sure that we are uprooting the same roots of hate and bitterness from our hearts as soon as they become apparent, no matter how small they may seem.  So with all my heart I plead, as we try to figure out what to do next, for each of us to please take an honest look at ourselves. Let us begin to forgive, reconcile with, and love the people that we hate and have ill will towards and encourage others in love to do the same. And let me make something very clear: in no way do I believe that you have to agree with someone to love them. That's not anywhere in the definition of love. Some of the people I love the most I disagree with the most. But we cannot move forward if we don't deal with the matter of hate. We cannot move forward in trying to eliminate these types of tragedies if we do not know how to deal with our own hate and anger and if we don't teach our children how to deal with their own hate and anger. We can't let these things grow among us anymore.

I don't know how George Zimmerman began to hate.  I don't know if at one point there was a "sense of injury".  But the moment he decided that he didn't like a certain kind of people that looked a certain kind of way, that thing grew and grew. And now Trayvon Martin, dead at 17 years old, is famous only for the heart breaking reason of his life being senselessly cut short. We'd all be delusional to think that if we are not diligent to remove any hate or bitterness in our hearts that we could not eventually be guilty of something just as ruthless.

Hebrews 12:15- See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

"Father, father, we don't need to escalate. War is not the answer. Only love can conquer hate" Marvin Gaye "What's Going On"

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