Many have 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 toward her has been replayed over and again.
The former Dallas police officer testified that she shot her victim by mistake, in his own apartment while he was eating ice cream. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison and many thought it should have been longer.
Allison Jean told 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 10 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. The story is told 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 10 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, comes 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. Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old Ethel Lance, said at the hearing, “You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, hold her again. But I forgive you.”
I don’t know what I would do, however, I know if you carry a lifelong load of hate, resentment and bitterness, it will wear you down.
The words of Jesus remind us from the Bible … “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 the author of 12 books and his syndicated column is read in all 50 states. Contact him at GMollette@aol.com.