Earlier this week, Amber Guyger, former Dallas police officer, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder of Bothan Jean. You’ve probably heard about this if you follow the news at all. It made national headlines. You’ve also probably heard about people who are protesting the sentence, demanding justice for the young man who was killed in yet another seemingly too familiar scenario of police versus minority.
Let’s try to go beyond all of that for a moment. Some facts are crystal clear. First, this event was a tragedy for everyone involved. There are no winners. Everyone loses.
Second, the circumstances surrounding the incident are unique in nature. Normally, things like this don’t happen.
Third, many lives were unalterably changed forever. The police officer and her family. The family of the young man. Friends, business associates and others all have suffered unwanted change in life.
Fourth, there is a place here for justice. Someone has to pay the penalty for what was done. Otherwise, the rule of law is worthless.
Fifth, there is also a place here for mercy. If ever there was a need and a time for mercy, this situation…this circumstance…would be it.
And last, if there ever was a time for the Christian virtues of love and forgiveness to come out, this would be it. And those virtues were very much on display when Brandt Jean publicly forgave Ms. Guyger, wished the best for her, said he wished she would not have to serve time, said he loved her just as he loved everyone, and asked the judge if he could give her a hug. The judge approved, and there was a tearful, emotional scene in the middle of the courtroom that shook those watching to their depth of their souls.
One more thing. This is an opportunity…an opportunity for redemption, healing, and love to prevail over hate, politics, and ideology. This is an opportunity for Christians to show what we are made of, and to demonstrate in stark and unmistakable terms the love and forgiveness of God in Christ Jesus.
Just like the Nickel Mines tragedy, when several Amish school girls were murdered in their school some years ago, the world witnessed here what love and forgiveness can do…the power that is in grace extended to the undeserving.
May the world take note and follow the example.