The Best Possible Light

zimmermanGeorge Zimmerman has been found not guilty. I wont comment on that because CNN can do that better than I can. I won’t be long and I won’t use witty pictures for this subject. The question is this: what can theology have to say about this mess that we find ourselves in? There are two points that I think need to be said:

1. Enter Luther’s Small Catechism.

Luther writes this explanation of the eighth commandment:

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”

What does this mean?

We are to fear and love God, so that we do not tell lies about our neighbors, betray or slander them, or destroy their reputations. Instead we are to some to their defense, speak well of them, and interpret everything they do in the best possible light.


The best possible light… Boy that is a hard standard. The entire Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman ordeal reveals how far we have all gotten from that commitment. The anger over the “not guilty” verdict revealed a lot. I reveals how African-Americans, and especially African-American men, don’t get the benefit of the doubt in our society. The trial, and media circus, revealed how guilt was assumed. Fundamentally this story has revealed how no one (including myself) interpreted peoples’ actions in “the best possible light.”

sour grapes

2. Sour Grapes and the Kingdom of God….

I have been reflecting a lot lately on Jeremiah 31:29 which reads:

In those days people will no longer say, “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”

I know it’s a little obscure, but here is what I get out of it: One day Sin will not cause such amazing damage to the people around us. One gunshot to the chest has caused a lot of pain and suffering. The Zimmerman case shows us how one person can cause so much anger. This case illustrates how one action can reveal so much Sin in our world

About dkamphuis

I'm an ELCA pastor preaching, teaching, thinking, and writting about what it means to be the church today.
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