More on Trayvon Martin and Racism: What kind of love is this?

Monday, March 26th I had the privilege to speak on behalf of at the Los Angeles rally and march for Trayvon Martin organized by Zsanae Davis, A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition, the NAACP and others.

While listening to Ashmont Hill’s “Running,” ( my morning meditation on the message I’d convey, surprised me.

“What kind of love is this?”

For me, that probing question dug deep into the heart of the matter of the Martin shooting, of racism, of poverty, of war…

I’ve struggled all my life with the answer to the question of how humanity can reach its highest potential, living in a peaceful, love-filled state of abundance and truth.

Boy does that sound crazy, right?

There’s not a sane man or woman alive who would actually believe that was possible.

How naïve to think that could happen.

There’s no way people will decide to set aside and overcome the driving forces of greed, hatred, power, sex, and control to sing Kumbaya together.


Ultimately, there is no law, no leader, no movement, no fundraiser, no study, no media that will stop someone filled with hate from pulling a trigger;  committing a rape; profiting off the needy; perpetuating genocide; oppressing others; decimating a nation.

Only love stops these horrors.

I don’t mean that good ol’ fashioned human love, that is jealous and competitive and possessive and wounded and conditional.

I don’t mean the kind of Earthly love that fuels rage, blood-lust, and vengeance.

What kind of love is this?

Here on Earth, the going sentiment seems to be that if you kill or rape enough people you should be made an example of: Your life’s ending a glory for mankind to celebrate.

Here on Earth, folk seem to believe that if you kill the wrong person for the wrong reasons, you should be killed by the right person for the right reasons.

Here on Earth, the cries seem to resound loud and clear:

  • We hate you for hating others!
  • We will control your hate so you can’t hurt us!
  • We will isolate ourselves from you so you can’t damage us!
  • We will punish you for hurting others!

What kind of love is this?

Have I got that wrong?

  • Who thinks it’s ok to say they hate racists?
  • Who thinks we’ll be safer if laws pass protecting us from hate crimes?
  • Who believes in separationist theories?
  • Who believes in full justice for the bad guys?

As much as we do need to be unified, positive and proactive in our efforts to protect and advance human rights…

We also, even more so, have to be realistic about what we’re  up against.

The reason NO human being has succeeded since the dawn of mankind in eliminating poverty, war, injustice, or hate is because humans simply can’t.

It takes a higher power to bring that level of peace and love to Earth.

We need agape love, all-consuming and all-powerful to fill the heart of a dictator; sex trafficker; slave master; racist; war-monger; murderer; pedophile; oligarch with the kind of divine love for humankind that not only stops them in their tracks but turns their hearts toward uplifting others.

At the march on Monday, as folks chanted “No Justice, No Peace!”  It was clear in this moment on Earth, what we need is not Earthly love.

We need God’s love.

What kind of love is this?

God’s love is the kind that would try and convict George Zimmerman of shooting Trayvon Martin and see him put on a path of true reform instead of punishment:

The highest love would see Zimmerman eventually being released from prison with a heart filled with love for all men.

The highest love would see Zimmerman becoming the leader of a national movement beginning in Florida to counsel people facing his old demons, leading them toward the light by working with young men like Trayvon and his parents.

What kind of love is this?

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

1st Corinthians 1-13

I don’t know who your God is, or what your spiritual leanings may be.  I do know that if you’re alive there’s a 99.9% chance you believe, even if only subconsciously in the power of prayer.  If  you’ve ever hoped for something, you believe.

So as you go about your daily dealings, and especially if that takes you toward movements of social justice, and if you are a leader or communicator in any respect…

I hope and pray that you will be careful with the messages you send during this time.

I hope and pray that every time you act to advance human rights, you will hope and pray for the Greatest Love of all time to fill the hearts of people everywhere.

6 Replies to “More on Trayvon Martin and Racism: What kind of love is this?”

  1. Tina,

    I go to One Church and call it home. I don’t know if you go there or not or if I’ve met you but I saw your article via Pastor Toure’s fb and read it. I’ve been struggling with the correct response to the events of Trayvon Martin’s death. Like you suggested at the end of your post it is important to be careful with the messages we all send during this time. Seeing that you’ve had the opportunity to speak in a public forum recently I would think that for you being careful with the messages sent is even more important. For the most part, I agreed with everything you said above. I especially liked the questions you posed including, “Who thinks it’s ok to say they hate racists?”. I think of all the questions facing our society this is one of the toughest to deal with. For some reason most of society or “the world” tells us the one time it is ok to hate is when you are hating hateful people. For example, hating racists, hating the “greedy” 1%, hating murderers, etc. But isn’t this the opposite of what Jesus asks us to do in Matthew? Aren’t we supposed to love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us? If haters are not our enemies who is?

    The one thing I question is why you say “God’s love is the kind that would try and convict George Zimmerman of shooting Trayvon Martin and see him put on a path of true reform instead of punishment”? With all due respect isn’t it presumptuous to assume God Himself has convicted George Zimmerman of a crime? Only God knows the heart of George Zimmerman and only God knows the motives and events in the heart’s of both men. It also sounds like you also have determined in your heart to know the heart of George Zimmerman. When you say “For me, that probing question dug deep into the heart of the matter of the Martin shooting, of racism, of poverty, of war…”. To know that he has the heart of a racist. To know that George is “someone filled with hate from pulling a trigger” as you insinuate. Do you know for certain he did not act out of fear for his life as opposed to racist hatred? Is there a difference? From what the public knows it appears that George acted foolishly, but I think it wise to refrain from judgement until more information has been revealed. Shouldn’t we be extremely cautious in pronouncing these judgements and careful with the messages we send? Isn’t this a time to wait? After all love is first patient according to Paul. In fact there have already been perversions of the truth and misleading information in the media. First this was white on black crime. Now it turns out George’s father is Jewish and mother is Peruvian. Does that make him white or hispanic? Should that matter anyways? Shouldn’t the only thing that really matters be that Trayvon Martin is dead and tragically so? I heard of a 17 year old being shot dead in Whittier today on the radio. At the time no other information given. Should we wait to see what the color of skin the victim and the shooter were before we are horrified? Do we care less about that 17 year old than about Trayvon? And if so what does that say about us? If it is white on black crime is that a hate crime while black on black murder is not hateful? Aren’t all human lives valuable to God equally? Should we be upset because “one of us” was killed by “one of them”? If we see each other as “us” and “them” has not the enemy already divided us? Has not the enemy already won? When will “us” and “them” become we? When will a black was killed by a white become one of our sons was killed by another of our sons? I genuinely do not understand why there are rallies and marches for Trayvon and not for any other 17 boy or girl when they are killed. I don’t expect you to answer all these questions. Im simply asking questions and continuing to struggle.

    1. Hi John, I’ve called One Church my home since Feb 14th 2010. 🙂 I’m part of the worship leadership team so you may see me singing every now and then. I go consistently Wed evenings, and to either the 9 or 1 o’clock service Sundays. I’m the short one with the big hair and glasses.

      PT’s message about Trayvon Martin at the 1pm this past Sunday was what exposed the truth I wrote about in this post.

      Thank you for reading, for being willing to explore this and for asking the relevant and probing questions you did.

      If you don’t mind, I’d like to take excerpts from your comment to address some of the questions in my next blog post.

      Have a wonderful day!

      1. Tina,

        This is a little late, but yes feel free to use excerpts! Haha. I hadn’t noticed an email notification of your response (maybe it filtered to spam?). Today I remembered to check back and see if you had done any follow up. Looking forward to reading your response.

  2. Fantastic message calling us all to a higher state of thinking, acting and experiencing one another. Really appreciate this post and the terrific thought provoking, soul stirring questions it sparked from John in his comments. Be blessed. Be encouraged. I hope you will continue to be courageously obedient to go where the spirit leads you, and to say what you are led to express.

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