The blessings of forgiveness.

Botham Jean’s younger brother Brandt Jean hugs convicted murderer and former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger after delivering his impact statement to her after she was sentenced to 10 years in jail, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, in Dallas. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)

When the brother of Botham Jean hugged the convicted murderer and ex-cop, it made headlines. It also raised questions. How could he do that? Why would he do that? Amber Guyger, the former police officer had been found guilty of murdering Botham Jean in his own home. She claimed it was all a terrible mistake. She said she thought she was shooting an intruder, when in fact, she had entered the wrong apartment. She is white. The victim black.

Here we go again.

Honestly, in light of the outcomes of the many other cop shootings of unarmed black people, I though she would get off without being punished. I was quite surprised when the guilty verdict was rendered and she was given 10 years in prison. Then, my heart was warmed when Brandt Jean, a Christian – as was Botham – expressed love and forgiveness and asked permission to give Guyger a hug. He urged her to give her life to Christ.

How and why would Brandt do this? Interestingly, the Sunday before this drama played out I preached the sermon The Power of Forgiveness. Here are some excerpts.


And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” – Luke 23:33-34 (NKJV).

The Power of His Love and Forgiveness

  • “For God so loved the world…”  (John 3:16-17)
  • While we were still sinners Christ died for us…”  (Rom 5:8)
    • He forgave both the repentant thief and those who were crucifying Him
  • Those who believe and receive Him have their sins blotted out
    • That saving power is still working today

Things God’s Forgiveness Teaches Us:

  • Love is a requirement for Christians (Matt 22:37-40 NIV)

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

This is what love looks like:

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. – 1 COR 13:4-7 NIV

  • Forgiveness is a requirement for Christians
    • “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  – Jesus Christ, Matt 6:14-15
    • Forgiveness is liberating (God’s forgiveness saved us from the penalty our sin.)
      • Our forgiveness releases both the inflictor and the wounded
        • The wounded person (YOU) no longer suffer
        • Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the person who hurt you dies
  • Forgiveness enables healing
  • The sooner forgiveness is granted, the sooner healing can begin
  • Let it go. Leave justice to the Righteous Judge

Forgiveness has the power to set you free!

3 Practical Steps Toward Forgiving When It Is Hard:

  1. Pray for God’s help
  2. Talk to the offending party. (Calmly communicate WHAT happened, WHEN it happened, HOW it made you feel. (They may be out of reach. Write a letter, if necessary.)
  3. Explain WHY you have chosen to forgive (Share the gospel message.)

You have the power to forgive. Choose to do it. It has the power to heal.