Many watched the powerful television report of Brandt Jean’s act of forgiveness toward Amber Guyger who killed his brother Botham Jean. The scene of him hugging her and extending forgiveness to her has been replayed over and again and has invoked a sundry of reactions from across the nation and the Texas community.
Former Dallas police officer Guyger testified that she shot her victim by mistake, in his own apartment while he was eating ice cream. She was sentenced to ten years in prison and many thought it would have been much longer.
Allison Jean, the mother of the brothers wrote on her Facebook page to her son Brandt, “Your load is lighter. Regardless of the views of the spectators, walk with God always. Forgiveness is for the forgiver, and it doesn’t matter what the forgiven does with it. “
From the Lancaster, PA community in 2006 comes the story of ten young schoolgirls killed in an Amish one-room school. On the afternoon of the killing an Amish grandfather expressed forgiveness toward the killer, Charles Roberts. That same day Amish neighbors visited the Roberts family to comfort them.
Later that week the Roberts family was invited to the funeral of one of the Amish girls who had been killed. Amish mourners would later outnumber the non-Amish at Charles Roberts’ funeral. The story told is that the killer was tormented for nine years by the premature death of his young daughter. He never forgave God for her death. Yet, after he cold-bloodedly shot ten Amish schoolgirls, their families and friends almost immediately forgave him and showed compassion toward his family.
In 2015, from the historic Charleston, South Carolina Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church also came the story of forgiving relatives. One by one those who chose to speak at his trial did not turn to anger. Instead, while the killer Dylann Roof remained impassive, they offered him forgiveness and said they were praying for his soul, even as they described the pain of their losses.
“I forgive you,” Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old Ethel Lance, said at the hearing, her voice breaking with emotion. “You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”
I don’t know what I would do. I can’t tell you what to do because I don’t know what has happened to you. It’s between you, whomever and God, and how you want to live your life. However, if you carry a lifelong load of hate, resentment and bitterness, it will wear you down.
The words of Jesus from the Bible remind us, “For if you forgive men their trespasses your father in heaven will forgive you.”
Think about it. Is there someone you need to forgive?
Glenn Mollette is an author and columnist. To contact Mollette, email: GMollette@aol.com or visit his website: www.glennmollette.com