Witnessing History Through Brandt Jean
On Tuesday, October 1, 2019 we witnessed history. We witnessed a guilty verdict for former police officer Amber Guyger who was convicted of murdering Botham Jean, a 26-year-old college educated, worship leader who was an upstanding pillar in the community. As someone who has tired of seeing officers get away with murder, I found myself somber with the historical verdict because at the end of the day, there are no winners. Mr. and Mrs. Jean can finally rest but they lost their baby. The black community has a win, but we lost a good brother. And let’s not even mention what Ms. Guyger lost.
As I thought about the verdict, I found myself praying for everyone involved – including Ms. Guyger. I asked God to give her the gift of repentance and I thanked Him that I am not her judge. Though what she did was wrong, prison is something I don’t wish on my worst enemy. Because when you think about it, none of us are qualified to judge, sentence, or decide what happens to her. Who’s to say, outside of the presiding judge, how much time she should spend in prison for taking a life? Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also…’ (Matthew 5:38) Does that mean that she shouldn’t go to prison? That’s not for me to say because He also said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.’ You may not have taken a life but its safe to say that you have verbally assaulted and put someone to death with your words. So have I. Which means we both need to keep what we think she deserves to ourselves – lest it be measured back to us.
But on the next day, Wednesday, October 2, 2019 we witnessed history again. After Ms. Guyger’s sentencing, Botham’s brother, Brandt, took the stand and shocked us all when he announced that he’d forgiven her, held no ill-will towards her, loved her as a person, and even went so far as to say that he didn’t want her to go to prison. The only thing he wanted, was for her to know Jesus. When I saw that, I had to wonder if what I was seeing was really real because we don’t see young black men like him that often. So sincere. So honest. So pure. He even asked the judge if he could hug her. When they embraced, she held on tightly. I could only imagine the sense of relief and love that she must have felt in what was supposed to have been the most horrible day of her life.
For God to show up – through the victim’s brother and demonstrate His love for a murderer was truly spectacular.
God's Goodness in Court
This morning, Thursday, October 3, 2019, as I prayed for the family and Ms. Guyger, God reminded me of Romans 2:4. ‘Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?’ What we saw yesterday was not only a demonstration of His love but of His goodness. We saw God extend the gift of repentance - through Brandt - to Ms. Guyger. His forgiveness allowed her to experience God’s goodness on what should have been the worst day of her life. Yet she walked away knowing that she’d been forgiven. Yes, my dear readers, we witnessed history yesterday. History of biblical proportions. What that young man did was historical and in my eyes he is one of the most powerful people on the planet. I say that because love is the most powerful weapon on the planet. God is love. Therefore, when we love – we are the most powerful. In the face of so much racial tension, Brandt Jean will forever be one of the most powerful people I know. Simply because when he was faced with a decision to hate, he decided to love, and God let allowed me to witness it. Salute young man. Salute.
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