Radical Forgiveness and Love

It was only a little over a day ago when I saw the video being shared from ABC News of Botham Jean’s brother forgiving his brother’s killer (Amber Guyger). If you’re unfamiliar with the story, I won’t try to retell it. You can look at the news article that I have linked below; as someone not trained in journalism, I would rather not accidentally include or exclude certain details. What I will say is this: it was a terrible incident that led to outrage in various communities.

However, I don’t want to comment on the legal, moral, or racial issues surrounding this story. I want to focus on that video I mentioned before. In that video, a brave young man shared his heart and soul in front of a courtroom of grieving people including his own family and to an international audience. Looking on his brother’s killer, Brandt Jean admitted that he didn’t want Guyger to go to jail. He wants what’s best for, and he forgives her and loves her. He wants the same thing for her that he says his brother Botham would have wanted; he wants her to accept Christ. After repeating this, he leaves the stand to hug Guyger with audible tears being shed throughout the courtroom.

If you watch that video, you will see what I can only describe as radical forgiveness and love. That cannot have been easy for him. I cannot imagine being in his place and being able to say those words. I can hardly watch it without tearing up. Looking at comments on social media, it becomes clear that some people think that she doesn’t deserve it. Many people think that he shouldn’t have done this. But I don’t think for a second they’ll change his mind. When someone does something so astounding, it’s hard for the world to understand. When someone shows love and forgiveness to the least deserving person in their life, the world may call them crazy or misguided, but God calls them blessed. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

This act was a fulfillment of the ministry done for us and given to us by God: the ministry of reconciliation. Paul writes:

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:16-21; emphasis mine).

I honestly cannot get that young man’s act of love out of my head. It convicts me. Could I do the same? It confuses me. Is this really what love is? It calls me. Go and do likewise. I cannot watch that video and not see Jesus. Following in his footsteps, the judge went to Guyger before she was taken away after her sentencing. She went to her and gave her, what was reported to be, her personal Bible. She read her John 3:16, and she told her to start by reading the gospel according to John. She told her that God loves her and has a plan for her. She, like Botham Jean’s brother, embraced her. What another beautiful act of Jesus-love. We cannot forget that radical forgiveness and love are the means by which God’s kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven.

For the news story, http://abcn.ws/2puWKDl.

Author: chandlerwarren

Oklahoman studying theology and philosophy in Scotland.