Crazy Love and Radical Forgiveness
Black Twitter is in turmoil after the sentencing of Amber Guyer. Amber Guyer is a former Dallas police officer that shot and killed a young black man named Botham Jean in his own apartment back in September 2018 while she was off duty.
Guyer’s defense is that she thought Jean was invading her apartment, as Jean and Guyer lived in the same complex with Jean dwelling directly above her.
There has been national attention brought to this case, as many people believe this is another instance of a white police officer killing an unarmed black man.
Things didn’t look very good for Guyer concerning the case. Since she was still in uniform at the time of the shooting, her police body cam reveals she did very little to help her dying victim. Botham was a twenty-seven year old accountant, home from work innocently winding down with a bowl of ice cream, while watching television, with his door slightly ajar. Guyer burst into his home and fired two deadly shoots with the intent to kill.
The case revealed that Botham Jean was a very kind and gentle person with lots of love in his heart for all. His father, Bertrum Jean, broke down on the stand as he tearfully testified, “How could we have lost Botham, such a sweet boy? He tried his best to live a good, honest life. He loved everyone. How could this happen to him?”
Jean’s mother believes that if Guyer would have just came into the her son’s apartment without firing those fatal shots, Jean would have told Guyer to grab a bowl and invited her to share ice cream with him. He was just that kind of person.
The nation has been awaiting the sentencing of Guyer for a little over a year and when the day came, October 2, 2019, nearly everyone watching was hoping for a long prison sentence for the former officer. Spectators didn’t know that they were in for a shocking surprise.
Guyer was found guilt by a black female judge. However, she was only sentenced to ten years of prison when she could have faced up to ninety-nine. The shock did not end there.
Brandt Jean, the victim’s eighteen-year-old brother, stated that he forgave and loved Amber Guyer in his victim impact statement after the sentencing. After those beautiful words, Brandt also asked the judge could he hug Amber Guyer, the woman who brutally gunned downed his innocent brother. The judge granted the young man her permission and the pair embraced as Guyer bitterly wept in Jean’s arms.
The internet was on fire after the trial. Not only had many African Americans hoped for a harsher sentence for Guyer, many were dumbfounded that Brandt Jean would embrace the woman that fatally shot his brother. Many people have expressed on social media that African Americans too easily forgive their oppressors, but do you know what I see his act as? Radical forgiveness.
The entire Jean family is Christian and as Christian’s we should be holy and set apart. Jean’s family said that that Botham loved the Lord and if Botham loved the Lord it is only fitting that his younger brother exemplify the love of Christ on behalf of him.
The world is angry at Brandt Jean because they want him to conform to the standards of the world. The world expected the family to be angry and hold hostility in their hearts for Guyer. The world wants the Jean family to protest the sentencing and curse and argue on camera about the ordeal. However, the scripture says differently.
1 Peter 2:9 says this about Christians: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of the darkness into his marvelous light.”
As Christians, our duty is to express the excellencies of Christ. One of the greatest faucets of Christ is forgiveness.
In the scripture, Peter had a pressing question for Jesus. Peter asked how many times should a person forgive one that has wronged him. Peter was sure the answer was seven. Jesus’s reply? “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
In Matthew 18, Jesus went on to tell a parable of a man who owned an extremely large debt. The man was about to be jailed for the debt, but he wept bitterly and asked for forgiveness. The man’s plea was sympathized and he was totally forgiven. After being forgiven, the same man realized that his servant owned him a much smaller debt. His servant pleaded to be forgiven of the debt, but the man would not have mercy on him.
When the person who originally forgave the man of his large debt heard of the savage way in which the man did not forgive his servant for the much more insignificant debt, he had the man jailed. In Matthew 18:35 Jesus said, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
In order to be forgiven of our sins, we most forgive. Not only did Jesus just speak the word of forgiveness, he practiced it. As many of us know, Jesus was crucified on the cross, but many do not know the entire story.
Before being crucified, Jesus was arrested and dragged through three trials- one occurring before sunrise. In one trial, he was sentenced to a beating with a whip that had spikes which permeated the skin, leaving behind deep and open wounds with each lash. After that he was dressed like a king to be mocked by a large crowd.
In pain and anguish, Jesus was made to carry his own cross up to Calvary outside the city. On the way to the cross he was mocked, spat, on and beaten. Once there, Jesus was robbed of his clothes, dressed with a crown of thrones, then nailed to a wooden cross with nails driven into both hands and feet.
Jesus had not eaten that day and was thirsty in the hot sun. When he asked for something to drink he was given vinegar. To be somewhat comfortable on the cross, one would have to continue repositioning their bodies which all the while deepened the piercing of the hands and feet. Roman soldiers mocked Jesus and gambled for his robe at the foot of the cross.
His mother and other mourners, along with gleeful spectators looked on to his shame. Jesus took on ALL human sin on the cross and God had to turn his back on him, as God can not face sin. Jesus was lonely, he was in pain beyond anything imaginable, he was thirsty, hot, tired, and embarrassed.
Jesus had every right to argue, become angry, and curse the entire world. Instead, Jesus said to his father in heaven, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34)”
As a believer in Christ, Brant Jean did the right thing, he forgave like Jesus.
He could have harbored hate in his heart for Amber Guyer. He could have cursed her name and made a scene, but instead he did something much more beautiful, he offered this woman radical forgiveness and this is what being a follower of Christ is about.
Crazy love and radical forgiveness is the message that Christ preached and lived by. Brandt’s brother is with the Lord. Botham has already been with Jesus since his last breath over a year ago. Nothing can bring his bother back to this world or give them even a moment of time back together.
Hating Guyer will not heal Brandt’s broken heart, but forgiveness can. Forgiveness is a gift that cleanses your heart and releases a person back to God for judgment. Many believe that Brandt is weak for forgiving Guyer, but to me that is a Godly strength that we all should learn from.
It takes way more power and valor to forgive someone who robed you of your first best friend than it takes to hate. Hating is in our own strength, but that kind of crazy love and forgiveness is in God’s. Guyer placed a tough situation in God’s hands, all while giving us a Christian example to model ourselves after.
I conclude with this statement, if you have a bible verse in your social media bio. If you are going to church Sunday after Sunday and have a Jesus fish as you bumper sticker, ask yourself a question? Am I Christian only by affiliation or do I follow Christ with my life?
To follow Christ isn’t an easy thing; sometimes the choices are hard, but always right. I urge you not to be angry with young Brandt Jean, but rather follow his example of Christ’s love and forgiveness.
Offer your haters and naysayers, your oppressors and enemies crazy love and radical forgiveness. Free your mind and cleanse your heart with these actions and watch the miracles God will perform in your life and heart.