Daily we live in a world created by our thinking, our reaction and participation in it. We have the opportunity to make it the best day we’ve ever had, sometimes just OK and sometimes just plain awful. We get to choose. We get to determine how the thoughts and actions play out in the wind of change and cause and affect. We get to decide on the direction our life takes, we get to choose. Even when the world throws us curveballs, heaving death, and the destruction of everything we believe in, we get to choose.
A couple of days ago Brandt Jean in response to a convicted murderer, hugged Amber Guyger as she was sentenced to ten years, for the killing of his brother, Botham Jean. In court, Brandt Jean, 18, used his victim impact statement to tell the court that despite what Guyger took from his family, if she is truly sorry for what she did, then he forgives her and wants the best for her. As the two shared a tight hug, the courtroom was largely quiet except for the sounds of sobbing. Footage of that moment put a dramatic human light on what had already been a widely watched case, in which an off-duty white police officer shot and killed an innocent black man.
Jean’s act of forgiveness and the ensuing reaction was immediately reminiscent of when the survivors of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, publicly forgave Dylan Roof. While we don’t want to glorify the act of forgiveness, as it does not absolve all of the issues created by our thinking, It is clear that the embrace was what Jean needed, and in fact requested. The reasons are not ours to parse or condemn. I do know that Brandt Jean will continue to mourn the loss of his brother for the rest of his life and he will be forgiving Guyger for the rest of his life. While there were many that were confused and disheartened by it, others tried to pull something good from it. Defense attorney Toby Shook on network TV said, “he thinks he showed with his grace and forgiveness how we should heal” In Brandt’s victim impact statement he said, I love you as a person; Jean, I don’t wish anything bad on you.
What he did this day was to heal “himself”, free himself from a life of condemnation and hate. He made his choice.
“Blessings on your journey”
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