The Power of Forgiveness

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Written By Corine Gatti-Santillo |

Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years for the murder of her neighbor Botham Jean while he was sitting on the couch eating ice cream in 2018. Guyger asserted she accidentally walked into the unlocked apartment thinking it was hers and opened fire believing Botham Jean was an intruder.

The victim’s brother, Brandt Jean, presented an impact testimony after the sentencing. What happened next was stunning.

“If you truly are sorry, I can speak for myself, I forgive and I know if you go to God and ask Him, He will forgive you. And I don’t think anyone can say it, again I’m speaking for myself… but I love you just like anyone else,” Brandt Jean,18, said.

“And I’m not gonna say I hope you rot and die just like my brother did, but I presently want the best for you. And I wasn’t going to ever 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. And the best would be to give your life to Christ. I’m not going to say anything else. I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want you to do. Again, I love you as a person and I don’t wish anything bad on you…”

Brandt Jean asked if he could hug Guyger and the judged granted permission. They shared an emotional embrace among many of those weeping in the courtroom. The “State District Judge Tammy Kemp shared a Bible verse and a hug with Guyger, and then Guyger was taken away to jail,” the Kansas City Star reported.

The power and love of Christ transcended all pain, hate, and anger in a situation riddled with grief and outrage. Losing a loved by the hands of another is detrimental and inexcusable. But Jesus stepped into this situation to radiate light through this young man. Jesus said, “But I say unto you which hear, love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.” 

Brandt Jean was the arms of Jesus in court — showing the power of forgiveness touches the poorest of souls. Mercy is never intuitive, it’s a conscious decision. And yet, it’s God’s gift to all of us. Let’s grab it today.

Isaiah 55:6-7: “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

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