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'Weaponizing' Forgiveness in the Botham Jean Case: Is It Wrong to Forgive When Injustice Still Exists?

10-04-2019
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Botham Jean's younger brother Brandt Jean hugs convicted murderer Amber Guyger after delivering his impact statement to her after she was sentenced to 10 years in jail, Oct. 2, 2019. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
Botham Jean's younger brother Brandt Jean hugs convicted murderer Amber Guyger after delivering his impact statement to her after she was sentenced to 10 years in jail, Oct. 2, 2019. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP)

The Dallas Police Department announced this week that it will conduct an internal investigation into police behavior.  

Evidence presented in the trial of former officer Amber Guyger showed her joking about the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and discriminatory comments about black officers.

Meanwhile, the country is still talking, and debating about the forgiveness that the victim's brother showed to Guyger, who was sentenced to 10 years for shooting and killing Botham Jean in his apartment.

People are talking about forgiveness, what it means, and whether or not the forgiveness that the brother showed was a good idea.

While in court Wednesday, Brandt Jean told his brother's killer that he forgives her. He told Guyger she needs Christ, and then he asked the judge if he could hug her. That became a moment that quickly went viral on social media. 

Podcaster Tyler Burns warned, "We often magnify these gestures because we desire neat, tidy endings."  

Author and speaker Bryan Loritts also warned, "Celebrating black forgiveness without condemning systemic injustice is to weaponize our forgiveness as an excuse to entrench systemic injustice."

On ABC's Good Morning America, Brandt Jean said he chose forgiveness as part of his path to healing.

"This is what you have to do to set yourself free," Jean explained. "I didn't really plan on living the rest of my life hating this woman. I know that there's something called peace of mind. That's the type of stuff you have to do to have peace of mind."

Dimas Salaberrios, one of the producers of a documentary on the racist massacre of black members of a Charleston church, said Brandt Jean was courageous to forgive.

"Some people look at forgiveness as weakness but forgiveness in the heart of this type of situation takes more strength," Salaberrios explained. "Forgiveness, whether Amber ever shows remorse or anything, that really doesn't have much to do with the heart of the brother Brandt displaying love, displaying a Christ-like character, displaying a longing for the person's soul."

"So I know that doesn't fit neatly in the pocket of the culture of today but Christianity often doesn't," he added.   

Salaberrios also said there's highs and lows with forgiveness and asked CBN News users and viewers to pray for Jean.

The film producer isn't denying that our country needs to continue to grapple with racial injustice, but he sees Jean as – bottom-line – caring for the soul of Amber Guyger, and he's applauding that.

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