By now, I hope you’ve seen the video of Brandt Jean hugging Amber Guyger. Actually, I hope you’ve seen it more than once, because it’s stunning.
If you haven’t heard the story, a Dallas police officer was going home after working a double shift. Instead of going to her apartment, she went to the floor above hers and walked in. Seeing a man inside, she shot and killed Botham Jean, a native of St. Lucia who worked as an accountant.
It’s a horrible, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching story. My heart is heavy at the tragedy of it all.
Then grace broke through.
At the sentencing portion of the trial, Botham’s brother Brandt addressed Guyger:
“I hope you go to God with all the guilt, all the bad things you have done in the past—each and every one of us may have done something that we’re not supposed to do. If you truly are sorry, I know, I can speak for myself, I know I forgive you.
“And I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you. . . .
“And I’m not going to say I hope you rot and die, just like my brother did, but I personally want the best for you.
“And I wasn’t going to say this in front of my family or anyone, but I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want you to do.”
After he finished speaking, he asked the judge if he could hug Guyger.
Wow! What a beautiful, gracious act for a man who is only 18 years old. And what a powerful reminder that for Christians who are in the middle of the deepest heartbreak and sadness there is still a peace that doesn’t make sense. The comfort this young man received from Jesus, he offered to the woman who killed his brother.
As we see this story, we are all Amber Guyger. We all sin. We have all broken God’s law. And we all know we deserve a guilty sentence. Our hearts are heavy at the weight of all the things we’ve done wrong.
Even though he should be angry, God the Father not only wants the best for us but also gave the best for us. Because God didn’t want us to suffer the punishment either—but justice said someone had to pay—Jesus took our punishment in our place. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we feel the Father hug us and say, “I forgive you.”
As we see this story, we are all Brandt Jean. Now that we know we are fully and freely loved and forgiven, we get to do what Brandt did. We take the peace that the Bible says goes beyond all human understanding—the peace that doesn’t make sense—and we share it with the people around us. We forgive their sins against us, and we tell them that God has forgiven all their sins too.
In your corner of the world, you get the privilege of making sure that grace breaks through.
P.S. Might I ask you to pray about this? Pray for Amber Guyger that the Holy Spirit would work through Brandt’s message and the Bible she received from Judge Kemp. Pray for the Jean family as they still grieve and mourn Botham’s loss. Pray for Judge Kemp. The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a complaint against her for sharing her Bible. Finally, please pray for the people who work for the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Though they may actively be working against religion, God loves them too and wants them to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who watched the video of the hug about 15 times.
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