Forgiveness is Good for the Soul
I am still mad at Super Bowl champion quarterback Doug Williams of the Washington Redskins for, in my mind, disrespecting my Aunt Mae Helen at Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge, La. in the late 1980s.
Fresh off of making history by becoming the first starting African-American quarterback to win a Super Bowl, my family ran into Williams at the mall.
Aunt Mae Helen told Williams, proudly, that she came from Kentwood, La.
Williams sarcastically replied that he came from Zachary, La.
While he signed autographs for my cousin James and I, his interaction with us still upsets me.
At the time, I was in elementary school and James had to be just a toddler.
James is now knocking on 35 years old and I still do not like the history-making quarterback.
To make matters worse, Aunt Mae Helen told me years ago that she does not even remember the encounter.
So when I saw Botham Jean’s family forgive Jean’s murderer, former police officer Amber Guyger, it did something powerful to me as a Christian.
Guyger killed Jean in Jean’s own apartment because she thought he was an intruder in her apartment.
The former officer made a mistake of getting off on the wrong floor of her Dallas apartment complex and another unarmed African-American man lost his life for no reason.
Luckily, the jury in Dallas found her guilty of murder.
However, they only sentenced her to 10 years in prison.
Furthermore, Guyger will become eligible for parole in just five years.
That does not represent real justice because in the American justice system, African-American men get more time for selling drugs than this White woman got for murdering an unarmed man in his own “castle.”
But while I hated the punishment, something straight out of the teachings of Jesus Christ happened.
Jean’s 18-year-old brother Brandt Jean told Guyger that he loves her as a person and did not want to see anything bad happen to her.
Furthermore, he asked the judge if he could give her a hug.
On CNN Thursday morning, Jean’s father Bertram Jean said that he too forgives her and does not want to see Guyger rot in Hell.
The Jean patriarch even went as far as saying that he wanted a friendship with Guyger.
Lastly, the judge offered Guyger her work Bible that she reads everyday on the job, telling her that reading the Word is her job for the next month.
That type of display of Christianity is what is needed in a sometimes Godless and heartless society.
While I could never hug or befriend someone who stabbed me in the back, let alone killed a family member, the Jeans let me know how hypocritical I have been as a Christian.
And although some African-Americans criticized the Jeans for their Christian expression, those might be the same critics who hate on pastors for being less than perfect.
Christian critics will use hypocrisy as a reason they do not belief in Christ or attend church.
But as soon as a person truly represents the love of Christ, they shun them too.
Make up your mind.
Christian haters cannot have it both ways.
Furthermore, many African-Americans will quickly call anyone like the Jeans house Negroes, sellouts, coons or Uncle Toms.
However, anyone who does that is an embarrassment to the African-American race unless they too have buried an immediate unarmed family member to a criminal cop.
How in the hell can anyone tell the Jeans how to react when they have paid the ultimate price when it comes to police brutality and systemic racism?
Unless you experienced the same thing, do not ever disrespect this beautiful, powerful and inspirational family.
None of us can tell them how they should feel after losing Botham Jean.
We should just continue to be there for them and frankly we should just follow their example.
On Wednesday night, my sister Tisha said God used Botham Jean.
Tisha said that God knew who to use and who not to use.
Thank God I am not strong enough for God to use me to be the type of examples that the Jeans are.
But my sister told me that God used Botham Jean because he was almost perfect, in his own home and a crazy cop still killed him.
Botham Jean got justice when far too many unarmed African-Americans did not receive justice after getting killed by police officers.
Botham Jean’s family showed us how to love our enemies, even reconciling with them at a time when this country needs healing, love and interracial harmony.
The former CPA from Dallas deserves unwilling comparison to Jackie Robinson because of his pristine image, temperament and intelligence.
Critics of groups like Black Lives Matter love to tarnish the reputation of dead unarmed African-American men in an effort to excuse some police officers of cold-blooded murder.
But those critics could not do that with Jean even though some still tried in vain.
Never before have I seen so many White people outraged with the murder of an unarmed African-American man, which is needed if the Black Lives Matter movement is to hit pay dirt, which is equal justice under the law for Black, Brown and White Americans.
Thankfully, Jean’s death will not be in vain as many see Guyger’s sentencing as progress.
America still has a million miles to travel to achieve true equality though.
But what does hating Guyger do to speed up true equality?
The only thing it will do is speed up the likelihood that someone my age will suffer a stroke or a heart attack.
What would make that even more tragic is that Guyger does not even know me and would probably not care anyway.
Hating Guyger would be the type of immature reaction an elementary school student would have at Cortana Mall in the 1980s.
Thirty years later, it only makes me like foolish.
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