Dear White People: About Botham Jean, Forgiveness, Justice, and Cheap Grace
Yesterday we watched the sentencing of a white woman, a former cop, convicted of murdering a black man named Botham Jean in his own apartment, unarmed, eating ice cream. She received the very minimal sentence of 10 years following which the brother of the murder victim gave her a big hug and said he forgave her. Many Christians applaud that hug saying it was an extraordinary act of grace on his part. Having never walked in his shoes I will not judge him. However as a white woman, also a former cop, and Christian theologian I will judge the way so many of us in the white community are so quick to applaud black people for forgiving white murderers. We did it following the Charleston nine and here we go again.
We are quick to point to the way in which Jesus forgave his own killers even as he suffered on the cross and we hold that up as the model for victims to adhere to today. But wait a minute. Is that fair? As we usually do with Bible stories we cast ourselves in the role of Jesus but really white people in the U.S. are the Romans in this story. We are the crucifiers not the crucified, the defenders of brutal empire who perhaps feel a little guilty at the scene of yet another lynching taking place in our name. As such we hear “father forgive them” as good news. Even though we have killed Jesus and brutalized his people we need not really fear hell. Even the victim himself does not hold us accountable. We are innocent. We did not know what we were doing. Good news right? Wrong.
Forgiveness without repentance is what theologian Dietrich Bonhoefer, quoting Adam Clayton Powell, called cheap grace. It lets us believe we are off the hook for our evil without demanding any real change on our part. In the case of the murder of Botham Jean cheap grace lets us white people maintain our sense of innocence and goodness without first facing up to the role we all play, knowingly or not, in maintaining systemic racism. In this case it allows us to avoid looking at the particularly brutal history of black men and white women. We don’t have to think about the thousands of lynchings, unjust crucifixions, that happened in our country due to black men being unjustly accused of raping white women. We don’t have to think about the way in which white women to this day are seen as fragile and innocent (particularly if they are or make themselves blond) while black men are perceived as threatening and dangerous even when they are in their own homes eating ice cream. In other words we do not need to see let alone repent of our sins. But is that the gospel? Is that grace?
I say no. Let’s look at the “father forgive them” scenario again. Jesus of Nazareth who lived as an oppressed Jew under Roman occupation is, like many before him, being crucified as an enemy of state. (Side note- All of you chomping at the bit to inform me that Jesus’s crucifixion/lynching was “not political” because he was “dying for our sins” need to hold off until you read some of my upcoming posts about the racist roots of Anselmian substitutionary atonement theory. All of you who likewise want to blame “the Jews” need a lesson in the history of Christian anti-Semitism. All of you who similarly want to say “we are all equally guilty as sinners regardless of race” need to read a history book. Have I covered all the loopholes? If not I will get back to them. Today we are talking history.) So Jesus has been persecuted by Romans all of his life for preaching good news for the impoverished and oppressed people of Rome now hangs on one of thousands of crosses (which Dr. James Cone rightly identified as lynching trees) designed to support Roman supremacy. Notice that in every one of the passion narratives he has very little to say to his oppressors. At this point he is done talking to them. Notice also that Jesus does not forgive them. He asks God to do so. Notice furthermore that he essentially writes them off as ignorant “for they know not what they do.”
Is that what we, as white citizens of a white supremacist nation want for ourselves? Will we be satisfied by a cheap grace that comes from being written off as ignorant? Will that restore the humanity we have lost to the false and demonic systems of racism and white supremacy? Will enforced (and it is enforced) forgiveness coming from black victims of racist violence be enough to save our souls?
I am going with no on this. I don’t know about you but I want more for myself. When I see a white woman, entrusted to “protect and serve” all people who nontheless harbored racist ideas as evidenced by her texts to co-workers, who illegally entered a black man’s castle, shot him in cold blood, told a nonsense story, played Goldilocks on the stand, and got away with the most minimum sentence, I want to do better than cling to the “but his brother forgave her bless his heart” defense.
I want to hold her and I both accountable, her for murder and me for whatever way I have, knowingly or not, contributed to the systemic racism that caused the murder. I reject cheap grace. I need justice to be done. I need the gift of true repentance for my own sins of racism. I need real soul salvation. I refuse to be written off as one of those who did not know what I was doing. I am better than that and so are you.
Wonderful post! I had to share! As a Christian woman of Color I approve this message and applaud the use of your voice Reverend.
October 3, 2019 at 6:39 pm
Just my observation,
Where did blacks in American get Christianity?
Was it from White Supremacists (Slave Masters).
Did it become a tradition, given by white supremacists for blacks to pass down and make it a desired path for their children, for acceptance and the standard path for living their lives in the black community?
Are we to always turn the other check, forgive, or ignore the oppressive obvious conditions we live in and just wait until our religious Deity receives us in our Heaven?
If religion is an individual walk, why have there been a push to collectively judge each individual’s path to their Deity?
Are we using religion to deal with the truth in order to make it more digestible, and looking at others that follow that religion to do the same or be judged by humankind?
The only real issue I have is with the judge and deputy consoling a murder.
October 3, 2019 at 6:53 pm
I am a black woman, living in a world of hate. I see it in all races, we are not just killing people of the opposite race, we are killing, we do not care what race it is. I understand that we live in a world that only see color, but it is time for a change. We all want the best for ourselves and our family and friends, at least this is what we are suppose to be feeling. We are living here together, all people are different, no one person is the same, we are all suppose to be bonding, however we just can’t seem to end these unnecessary race war’s.
Love has no boundaries, and it has no shades of color, we all bleed red outwardly and we all die, just as we all were born/lived . Please people get the message. It is time for Love and time for hatred to take a back seat, we have to see beyond the eyes of the wicked and receive, the vision of the Spirit. We all play a part in this race card, we all have to stand up and decide that there is more to life than hating someone, because of the color of their skin, or the name we choose to call them.
I stand up for Love, Peace, Joy, Happiness, Togetherness, Humbling Mindset and One country under GOD! Division is a math solution, not a people separation. We are still complaining/fighting about race, when are babies are being raped, murdered and abused, this is not isolated. Our children are committing suicide, and killing one another, without feeling and/or seeing the pain behind it, there is mental illness that we overlook, because we are to busy, thinking about your people, his people, their people and those people. We are all one people, we just look different.
I know that the blind don’t see color with their eyes, they only feel love with their inter-parts, their heart, soul and spirit. Children see love, by smiles and touch. It’s us GROWN FOLKS, all shapes, shades and colors that teach, the race card. STOP IT, we can’t even allow a young man to feel FREEDOM after the pain of losing someone he loves. without bickering. Forgiveness is for all concerned, it has to start somewhere and why not with him. He wanted to be set free and he gave her and opportunity to take the shackles off of herself, it is up to her to ask for repentance, and forgive herself of what her wrong was and/or is.
I pray that, we Overcome the planted seed (hate) and begin to flourish (LOVE). This is not a race card, it is a Life Guard and we need to start saving lives NOW!!!!!!!
October 3, 2019 at 6:54 pm
Thanks for the dissertation Aunt Jemima.
October 9, 2019 at 4:22 am
October 12, 2019 at 4:32 pm
Well said. What purpose is all the hate, blame, retribution being impossible, what will make it better? Only to come together as a nation, to save ourselves, our children and grandchildren. There will always be people who don’t get it, who feel better if they are fighting for something. I grew up with multiple people from different religions, skin color, etc. I experienced racism in grade school. I took it personal, like most of us do. I didn’t think it was about skin color. I just thought they were mean people. That’s a child’s view. In some ways, there is some truth in that view. My grandmother always said “well, she/he is doing the best they can”, in any situation that I was frustrated with the right and wrong. I wanted her to agree with me and chime in. She would just say, well they have troubles too.
Don’t think like that!
October 9, 2019 at 5:16 pm
Thank you for insightful post…
October 3, 2019 at 6:57 pm
When people point to black families that are quick to forgive their racist offender, as examples that everyone should follow, that irks me. They call that being a “good christian. ” I can’t help but call it setting yourself up for more future grief and oppression. My mind won’t allow me to sing kumbaya with my enemy. I want my enemy to feel the same pain I felt. Who’s to say Amber won’t get out in 5 years and run into Botham’s father and shoot him too? Will she still warrant forgiveness?
October 3, 2019 at 7:01 pm
She is not a racist…she simply shot and killed a black person. What is a black person that shoots and kills a white person? If you want your “enemy” to feel the same pain you do…then you should check your heart. There is zero evidence the shooting was racially motivated. People just yell “racist” anytime a white person harms a black person…but are silent when a black person harms or kills a white person. Why is that? She was convicted for murder that was passionately motivated. Read the full story! That means it WAS NOT PREMEDITATED but it happened unexpectedly. Sentencing by law for that conviction is 2 to 20 years. She got 10. And to boot, a majority-black jury and a black judge convicted her and sentenced her. Hmmmm…now…if her sentencing was light because she is white…complain to the black woman judge. Or…just keep yelling racism every time a black person is injured or killed by a white person while you keep silent when the opposite happens…which by the way…happens a lot.
October 3, 2019 at 7:22 pm
I guess you didn’t read the text messages she sent, clearly stating her hate for black people I think you need to do a little more digging before trying to correct me.
October 3, 2019 at 8:21 pm
I think you missed the point of the article completely. Read it again without being defensive.
October 12, 2019 at 4:37 pm
Jerry – You have a lot of history to learn I could fill this space with facts and corrections but that will just continue the argument. What black authors have you read? Do you know: Tupac and Biggie ? Ta Nehesi Coates? Trayvon Martin? Black wall street? Michael Harriot? You will find little truth in history books. You have to look and be open to learning before you make speeches about racism.
October 12, 2019 at 7:04 pm
What does it take to feel your pain? That’s getting even for any pain you have had in your life? What will carry you beyond the pain? How can you make the pain you have suffered work for you, improving your life and others, while taking that negativity and turning it into a positive outcome? Can you save the next generation from feeling the same pain? Can you leave them with a more positive expectation and outcome? They need more than the desire to even the score. All that energy could be more useful in stepping over the rubage, to create a life they desire.
October 9, 2019 at 5:27 pm
Respectfully, I am quite certain that Jesus’ teaches his follows to personally forgive, not just seven times but seventy seven times. Moreover if Jesus is the decisive revelation of God to Christians -and Luke’s community– he can be heard to not be speaking to some other entity to forgive his killers while he is dying in Luke 23. His Grace is God’s Grace and God’s Grace is His Grace. Indeed to read that moment on the cross as non-forgiving by Jesus can be heard to cheapen His grace on the cross and to unravel the Trinity and Jesus’ incarnational existence (at least at the pivotal moment) . . . You are ultimately right that forgiveness without repenting is not going to help the wrongdoers’ sinfulness.You are also right that Botham Jean’s killer needs to take repentant and reparative actions; and that all white people in America need to do so too and never stop until there is an end to racism. But I cannot see how a victim’s grace-filled forgiveness is not Jesus’ Way, or somehow cheap grace. I understand Brandt Jean’s love in that courtroom as an act of supreme grace which meets Jesus’ teachings in a true disciple fashion. It is pure and good–and incarnational itself. The wrongdoers’ treating it as cheap grace– as their discounted ticket to redemption– is the issue, and further wrongs the victims and especially Brandt Jean. I think you arrive there but seem to suggest along the way that personal forgiveness by a victim (like we saw in the courtroom —-and on the cross) is not called for by Jesus’ teachings and His actions. There IS great power in that forgiveness, but none in the failure to fully repent and repair the harm by the killer and white people. (And to be clear not every act of forgiveness is expected by Jesus to come quickly, it is a process that can take a long time–even a life time. So Brandt Jean’s route need not be everyones’–though working on it is of necessity)
October 3, 2019 at 7:29 pm
BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO!!! Exactly what this country (struggling to be a nation) needs to begin the much needed healing process: truth and reconciliation.
October 3, 2019 at 7:29 pm
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sis this is scripture from God and you wouldn’t expect it. You give me man’s word and you except as truth over the word of God. I hope everyone that sees this post goes and read that article to see how cunning and deceitful the enemy is. The word of the Lord is for everyone, this is why it says who so ever in John 3:16. When you read it you don’t have to cast it with different races. You don’t have make Jesus one race and the enemy another. You simply let Jesus be the example. The story of Jesus on the cross doesn’t need for one side to be black and the other side to be white. The color of the character has nothing to do with the teaching of the scripture. When you do this you create a racist separation of bias in interpreting the scripture. Jesus is Jesus and the enemy is the enemy period. you missed the revelation of the word because you want to make it about race. The teaching is this. Christ said forgive them for they know not what they do. He didn’t say forgive them after they repent and say they’re sorry. Forgiveness doesn’t come with conditions. Which brings us to Grace. Grace is the unmerited favor of God. In other words getting what you don’t deserve. The article said cheap Grace. What does that mean? You can’t find anywhere in the word of God that term cheap Grace. Yet you accept that term. If Grace is getting what you don’t deserve then what is cheap Grace? makes no sense. Word of advice sis, if it doesn’t line up with the word don’t except it.
October 3, 2019 at 7:55 pm
Thank you and God bless you!
October 3, 2019 at 8:09 pm
Word of advice Kurtys, don’t call women “sis”. It is extremely demeaning and disrespectful.
October 4, 2019 at 9:45 am
Yes, yes and yes
October 3, 2019 at 8:08 pm
I was almost with you until you said “notice Jesus does not forgive them but ask God to forgive them” this would place Christ in direct conflict with Himself when He says my Father and I are one and if any man sees the Father has also seen me (Paraphrasing) but you see my point. While I wholeheartedly see the intent you are expressing with the conclusion that racism and supremacy can not be solved or dissolved with mere acts of forgiveness let’s not change the context of Calvary solely to fit our narrative. All grace is cheap because it’s FREE. And I don’t know about anyone else I’m glad He paid the price that His grace may be freely given even to those who commit the most awful acts against humanity. We must remember that at the end of the day grace is never about anything we do but it’s about what He did. We should not confuse the undeniable need to overhaul and reform the justice system with the acts of forgiveness, justice, and grace completed on the cross at Calvary. #hedied
October 3, 2019 at 8:11 pm
October 3, 2019 at 10:03 pm
October 3, 2019 at 8:39 pm
Well said. Thank you.
October 3, 2019 at 8:49 pm
this absolutely says so much. forgiveness is for the forgiver and no one else.
October 3, 2019 at 8:59 pm
Perhaps I’ve been exposed to many Rachel Dolezal of the world. I’m naturally curious about people who aren’t of color empathizing with people of color. As a former cop, is this a recent revelation? Did you speak out in this manner while you were on the force or did you turn a blind eye to corruption and abuse? Were you critical of how your police force behaved or treated people of color. Sometimes white like to believe that they are socially and culturally aware. Sometimes it just isn’t so. Forgiveness is forgiveness when it’s for you and not the other person
October 3, 2019 at 9:24 pm
Yes. This is a Great article. Cheap grace is a nice way to put it. But I really like and appreciate the honesty plus the fact that you made so many connections especially coming from a white woman. They can and should do better. They know it, but when will they all act? I would love to see a white man march. Sounds crazy right? But what I’m saying is…. for all the other whites who feel the exact same way to form their own group and march as white men and white women for black men and women. (We are tired, the cup will overflow at some point) Consider that truly repenting….form a white group that is sooooo sorry for what they knowingly or unknowingly did to blacks in this country. March on our behalf, preach to this grate nation how horrible we have been treated, preach to your white kids who will follow the footsteps of their ancestors one day and (knowingly or unknowingly) contribute to our pain and suffering as a people in this country. I’ll wait. (This lifetime would be great) SMH@10years. (I applaud you for your article tho).
October 3, 2019 at 9:39 pm
Thanks for this. I can’t wait to read your thoughts on Anselm. Substitutionary Atonement has always troubled me and to learn that it may be rooted in racism… Well, my interest in your writing is certainly piqued!
Another thing that troubles me is the concept of Justice and its relationship to Grace. Of course we all need to be careful of “cheap grace.” As you pointed out, Brandt Jean hugging Amber Guyger _could_ lead us (white folk) to making that mistake. It could also make it very easy for us to say “Well look, he forgives her, that makes the light sentence she got justifiable!” Is it justifiable?
You want accountability and justice. My sense is that, as a former cop, you would advocate for a very long sentence; perhaps even the death penalty. Am I correct in that? If so, is that justice? Where on the continuum between 10 years and life (or death) does the justice you seek for Ms. Guyger lie?
More importantly, how can we “receive the gift of true repentance” for OUR sin of racism? What does “White Repentance” look like?
October 3, 2019 at 10:20 pm
It’s frightening that people sit in church on Sunday and don’t see the importance of Brandt Jean’s act of grace toward this broken individual. His gesture did not give her a pass for taking the life of his brother. He clearly stated that his brother would have wanted her to be forgiven. More importantly he sought to lead her to accept Jesus Christ as her Saviour. What true Christian could possibly object to that. His one act could bring more people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ than any sermon ever will.
October 3, 2019 at 10:34 pm
And just like that, a beautiful moment that made the world stop and take notice, something that may have even prevented violence in the streets and brought healing to many, is suddenly something else, and we should all be ashamed or think again… but definitely not be enlightened or uplifted. “Here’s your slap in the face for thinking that people can rise above the issues of the day. Here’s your comeuppance for forgetting you’re privileged. You should never ever be forgiven… because there are others among you who are not as lucky as you. Now sit down and shut up.”
OF COURSE WE’RE ALL SINNERS. That is what makes this moment so touching. We all deserve the worst of the worst. That’s what makes God’s forgiveness, and this young man’s forgiveness so amazing. It doesn’t excuse anything. The grace that’s offered us is hard earned by one that chose love despite our unworthiness. Forgiveness is HARD, but it is one of the most healing things a person can do. It’s written in our DNA. It’s a part of our divine inheritance. It’s what reminds us that home is in heaven, not on this crappy earth full of people who just want to remind us how horrible we are.
But thanks for the slap in the face anyway.
October 3, 2019 at 11:15 pm
I agree with you on all but I wanted to point the fact that forgiveness was not given to the woman for her, but for the family of the deceased. The young man who decided to forgive this woman has not let her off the hook; he gave way for God to settle the matter. And I think that is what most people need to understand about forgiveness from a human being stand point. Forgiveness from God on the other hand requires repentance because we serve a perfect God. Only God knows whether she truly is sorry about what she did. To be honest, we will never know, it’s not our place to judge. Nonetheless, our justice system failed the family, failed the black communities, and failed society overall because this example will perpetuate this idea that it’s okay for black individuals to be victimized, and killed.
October 3, 2019 at 11:29 pm
How presumptuous and arrogant of the brother, how can you forgive someone for something that wasn’t done to you, maybe Botham Jean doesnt want her forgiven, …how about saying it’s in your makers hands now, I don’t have the power to forgive you as it is not mine to give.
October 4, 2019 at 5:55 am
Huh??? The act of forgiveness by Brandt Jean was neither presumptuous nor arrogant. This woman wronged him and his family by taking the life of his brother. Christians are taught that we must forgive those who wrong us, thus by Christian standards, it is not only possible to extend forgiveness to another, it is expected. Now, it is another matter altogether about the killer receiving forgiveness from God.
October 5, 2019 at 2:45 pm
I applaud the brother ‘s forgiveness for it removes hatred from his heart. It in no way implies that she will not have to face judgment on this side. What it does for him is removes malice from his heart. Theologians help me with this: there will still be a judgment day in the end. Carrying around hatred and malice will taint our witness. I believe this is more about his soul than hers.
October 3, 2019 at 11:31 pm
In the mind of someone like Guyger, his embrace absolves her from any wrong doing, in a mind like hers the sentence will reinforce the full stop on this episode. She will be freed in less than five years, she will move and I’m sure be hired as a police officer, or in some connection to law enforcement in another state. The embrace is what has made her feel absolved, he forgave her for himself, Botham Jeans mother didn’t embrace her, if Botham Jeans mother does forgive her only Botham Jeans mother knows…..will that change the behaviour of Guyger when she is released? Only time will tell but her mind will remain the same, she killed a black man in his apartment and she was forgiven by a black man.
As a mother, I would be outraged, but silent, if my adult child behaved that way toward a person who committed such an atrocity to my family.
I’ve forgiven many people who have done me wrong, but forgiven them for my sake, they’ll not know it unless they ask me, their wrong doing is not my burden it is theirs. I have to be accountable for the wrong I do and act accordingly if I apologise I have to understand that the person I have wronged may or may not forgive me, I then have to work on healing myself and doing better….she won’t, her hated is deep!
October 4, 2019 at 3:01 am
YES, exactly…and it wouldnt be yours to give, it didn’t happen to you.
October 4, 2019 at 5:59 am
I totally agree with you.
October 4, 2019 at 4:13 pm
Who said the brother had hatred and malice in his heart?
October 4, 2019 at 4:09 am
Thank you for such an insightful perspective. Yours is a voice of wisdom that really needs to be amplified in the cacophony of a malnutritious discourse about forgiveness. People are quivk to tout the example of Jesus on the cross as the way wounded survivors of injustice are to respond. But when we read about the beheading of John the Baptist, Matthew 11:13 says “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.” True forgiveness must be precipitated by process. Yes, Jesus extended forgiveness to His persecutors from the cross, but not to John the Baptist’s murderers. Jesus had to go wrestle with the torrent of emotions that he was feeling….in a place of solitude. True forgiveness demands reconciliation within one’s self before it can be extended to another.
October 4, 2019 at 11:56 am
October 4, 2019 at 11:59 am
October 4, 2019 at 12:54 pm
Forgiving someone does not remove hate. I have no hate for the people I have not forgiven. And to think that not forgiving means you harbor hate, then the logical conclusion is that Jesus – who did not forgive his oppressors – harbored hate. That makes that argument fundamentally flawed.
October 4, 2019 at 3:04 pm
This is a sad commentary that only fuels the fire of racism today. The vast majority of black and whites live peacefully with each other, including my very integrated neighborhood and kids school. Just said you only feed the fire with this nonsensical rhetoric. The worst part is that you use the Holy Scripture to explain this. When you twist and distort something that is strong, it twists back to slap you in the face…just sad…
October 4, 2019 at 10:18 pm
October 4, 2019 at 10:47 pm
This scripture quoting shit again! u white peoples like to quote scripture to justify forgiveness, from black ppl, but when black ppl are the victim of you all brutally, and are killed at your hands, u also have scripture to justify that as well! U white peoples have use scriptures to justify slavery, segregation, lynching, and all manner of crimes against the blacks!!!! Just like your forefathers before, did to keep black ppl from rebelling they quote scriptures!!! Forgiveness is a weapon white peoples used to keep black ppl in line! Without knowing the young man brother u said he forgives to take away any malice in his heart hmmm🤔
October 4, 2019 at 11:23 pm
Yolanda- I read this completely differently. Rev. Karyn is calling out white people for being the perpetrators of hate and violence and that pleading ignorance to racism is no excuse or reason to be forgiven. Your words echol her points, only she is speaking as a white cleric calling out her white brethren for their complicity in this violence.
October 12, 2019 at 7:13 pm
In other words, you are talking about “white” people you’ve never met, yet have judged guilty of some invented sin.
All while presuming that God will never lead those racists to actual repentance.
October 5, 2019 at 12:00 am
Why are you insisting he has hatred in his heart. He did not shoot and kill his brother in cold-blood. Now you are taking the negative perception from the killer and placing it in the brother. So wrong!!
October 5, 2019 at 5:09 am
Minnie I am glad I didn’t have to search too long for this rationale. I believe it was more a question of evading the self-deprecating feelings of raw hate that drove Botham’s brother to hug her. Nobody wants the burden of hate on their shoulders. Whatever drove Amber to commit that crime is still inside of her and she has to figure out how to extricate it from her soul.
October 5, 2019 at 5:11 am
Well written but you are speaking as a Christian for someone who never claimed to be or professed Christ the bible as a theologian you should know speaks nothing about cheap grace that is garbage and grace can only be given by God if we are speaking of enternal grace given unto us by faith. This type of roderic no matter how noble it may seem only brings the word of God into question not people and confuses even more many who are already confused. We see what people do if they follow their master the devil, great and evil atrocities and yes the Jews and Romans were both guilty according to the word of God as are we because had there never been sin there would have never been a need for atonement or payment which was Christ crucified. Bradnt offered Christ to her which as Christians is what we are expected to do not as black Christians not as white Christians just as Christians i am a black man in America and a Christian and i stand with Brandnt Jean and say ask for forgiveness repent and be save. I can set no one in heaven or hell and neither can you Karyn.
October 3, 2019 at 11:37 pm
White people are not the Romans in the story. Broad strokes of who people are is the very definition of racism.
The brother that forgave and pointed his brothers killer to the cross of Christ did a good work and will be known in heaven for all of eternity, and his act of forgiveness is a beautiful thing. Like The Bible says “God proved His love this way In that while we were still sinners (we were still the enemies of Jesus) Christ died for us” So to forgive ones enemy is the most Christ like thing one can do. The brother could only control one person in this story, and he did that. So mush respect to him for that. God does not tell us to obey our race, our fears, our emotions , our stuff, but only obey Himself. So to take away from that is in bad taste especially if the writer of the article is a Christian.
Now do I think the sentence was light and not strong enough? Yes! And is an individual showing Christ love diffrent then the state “bearing the sword to stop evil and promote good” (Romans 13:4) Yes, and of you want say she deserved more punishment or even deserved death, I will agree with that. But as Christians let us promote Christ, whom reconciled our sorry selfs to God.
2 Corinthians 5:16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
So to sum it all up we can either use this to recouncile people or divide people. We can look at life through the lens of The Bible or by what the world says.
Either way we choice to go with this, most of us have led a life that other people from other parts of the world would be jealous of.
Love ya brother and 01 Champs for life. And Iron sharpens Iron so all this was said in respect.
October 3, 2019 at 11:38 pm
Well said! As as black man I applaud your candor and courage. Please don’t allow any critics to discourage your willingness to speak honestly on these tuff issues. This type of discourse is needed for true change to materialize.
October 4, 2019 at 12:28 am
When l heard her sentence it made me so sad.l thought black lives really don’t matter. I wish someone would look up how many times this judge has come off the bench and hugged a black defendant!!!!
October 4, 2019 at 12:32 am
Though if may matter in some eyes how would if make a difference? If the judge did if for everyone then it wouldn’t mean anything in the long run. The whole situation was so unfair and could have gone either way and it would still cause controversy on one side or the other. I pray that no more harm comes to innocents because of this 🙏. This is just my opinion and I’m not trying to be controversial or start a debate by no means.
October 4, 2019 at 2:49 am
THIS: “How many times has this judge come off the bench and hugged a black defendant.”
My thoughts throughout this general discussion on the Internet. I find myself yelling (figuratively) at the screen: “But how many times has she , or any judge for that matter, hugged a black defendant??” (Or any defendant)
A judge is to be impartial, including not showing how she personally feels to the general public. One of my friends told me that the defendant asked for a hug or to hug the judge. I don’t know about that, and that’s beside the point. I don’t presume to know why the judge felt compelled to do it, I only have theories, but I do know it was not professional and gave the message that even the 10 year sentence was too much. In any event, thanks for bringing the judge’s hug up in this discussion.
I have a lot of thoughts about all this hugging, but I am holding any further public comment. Being a white woman, I feel like I need to sit back and learn from people of color, to hear their feelings and opinions. My point of view has been from a privileged position and I need to be mindful of that and learn.
October 4, 2019 at 1:07 pm
October 5, 2019 at 12:26 am
I agree and look forward to more post and exchanged
October 4, 2019 at 12:54 am
Thank you so much for your thoughfullness and truth.It took me a long time to forgive those that inflicted pain and prison time on my family member which he doesn’t deserve,I was filled with hatred because it was the color of his skin that got him convicted,but,after praying time and time again,my heart turned another corner,and I know longer hate,I pray,pray and pray.
October 4, 2019 at 1:03 am
Thank you for this article. I understand everything you said and the message you conveyed. Well done. … I am looking forward to reading James Cones book “The Cross and the Lynching Tree”. It was recommended to me after I did a presentation in Seminary.
October 4, 2019 at 1:05 am
Thank you, thank you, tha,-ank, YOU!!!!👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾💥👊🏾🔥❤
October 4, 2019 at 2:05 am
If he truly forgave her in his heart, there will be no need to put on this show of an embrace and hug for the whole world to see. If he truly forgave her in his heart, there would be no need to hug her period, especially at the sentencing hearing. Would we applaud a woman who ran to hug her rapist or her sister’s rapist?
October 4, 2019 at 2:19 am
First of all, thank you. I am a middle-aged black woman, and a recent seminary graduate. I have grown very disheartened with distorted interpretations of biblical forgiveness. Many seem to have forgotten that throughout American history, the oppressors used religion to manipulate the oppressed. I suspect a critically thinking spiritual person like yourself will not be invited as a commentator on most media outlets. However, I hope that the audience for your type of commentary grows.
Peace be with you.
October 4, 2019 at 2:21 am
Thank you for writing this.
Perhaps some will read, understand, and repent.
This is a hard lesson. It is also hard to accept grace and then try to live worthy.
This is a good beginning. Let’s hope the ball is taken up and run toward the goal.
October 4, 2019 at 2:35 am
Justice, and Mercy goes hand in hand. We can learn from this sad story. We can make a bad decision that impact on many lives, and leave people devastated, and then you see the beautiful example of the brother and judge. Wow, they live their faith. Kudos to them, they are truly humble people. No politics, just humanity.
October 4, 2019 at 2:51 am
Read Luke 17:3
October 4, 2019 at 2:57 am
The murdered man didn’t have the opportunity to rebuke or forgive his murderer.
October 4, 2019 at 1:48 pm
It’s injustice personified. We need to allow these demons to seek their own grace and metcy!! We cannot eliminate this atrocious behavior by telling them yes it’s okay for you to take our loved ones carry on!!! I don’t like all the collusion I see!!! What kind of nonprofessionslism wad displayed by a judge!!! She tarnished her robe and image!! I have no respect for her lopsided behavior!! She is no longer worthy to wear that robe!! She is despicable!!! She displayed unprofessional behavior from the onset!!! Yet I tried to be open-minded!!! First impressions are lasting!!! She will pay for her unprofessional partial behavior!!! A beautiful young professional hard working Black man life was snuffed out!! I believe it was mistake it was intentional!! They appeared to have orchestrated his demise!!! Earlier it was said by Gotham neighbor there was a noise complaint??? He said it was reported the noise was coming from his and Bothams apartmemt he said there was none?? That judge should be impeached right away!!! I watched it intently each day!!! We need to protest this until all is overturned!!
October 4, 2019 at 3:29 am
What will be said when she appeals
October 4, 2019 at 3:46 am
If she gets a retrial I hope the DA cross examines the brother of Botham. I watched the trial and there was no physical evidence to connect Guyger to Botham. People cannot believe it was a random shooting and his impact statement raised suspicion. The whole thing was one big mess.
October 4, 2019 at 8:40 am
I am making this comment because when I first heard of your ”opinion” from a Tweet referral concerning the brother’s forgiving hug that your attitude is skewed especially from a Christian viewpoint. You have made a few good points concerning racism and hatred but your ideas on cheap grace are unloving and un-Christlike. You came across saying that Jesus’ prayer to the Father, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. “ was cheap grace. The brother’s loving forgiving hug is not cheap grace. It would be better called as sacrificial grace. Sacred not cheap. Brandt Jean was a Blessing to Amber Guyger, a Blessing to everyone in that courtroom, and a Blessing to the world. His act of mercy, forgiveness, compassion and love is not cheap grace, but it is loving grace.
Of course there is need for repentance for salvation to be complete. Concerning weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. Not justice by itself. Mercy and faith must be included.
October 4, 2019 at 4:19 am
Thank you for the clarification .
October 4, 2019 at 8:36 am
This was one young man who forgave and perhaps felt compassion for one woman who killed his brother under a unique set of circumstances. His father said he felt the same way and wished he would have said so in court. To extrapolate that into a theological principle does not do them justice.
October 4, 2019 at 4:59 am
As an African American Christian woman I was bothered by the case. I agree with you and I have no comment/judgment about the 18 year old young Church of Christ, Christian man. I will say as the other of a 19 year old son that the mother and family members are entitled to have ‘righteous anger’ about the entire ordeal. They blocked a freeway and demanded answers and rightfully so.
October 4, 2019 at 10:00 am
Theology without Holy Spirit means nothing. It’s take Him…Holy Spirit to help us discern and understand. We can and will NEVER understand in our own thinking. His ways are jot our ways neither his thoughts our thought. Yahshua was an example. Period. You cant tell us what the meaning of what He himself said and did. The very FIRST THING WAS HE FORGAVE. end of story. Now youre in your flesh and mad. I’m glad this trial and verdict came about because any Leader that cant or wont forgive cant be my leader any linger. Must lead by example. That’s the teue Spirit of Christ and his live. Many Christians doesnt know his love. They just preach on it.
October 4, 2019 at 5:26 am
Thank you for having the guts to speak up about this injustice. Forgiveness is good, but there is also a need for justice for all people, regardless of color.
October 4, 2019 at 5:42 am
Beautifully executed. The whole exchange during sentencing was lacking and off. I hope the right message is sent because someone has to pay for murdering Botham and so far nobody has volunteered to take Guyger’s place. Romans 3:23 says sin carries a wage. She took a life so God is just and merciful so while he forgives penance is necessary.Zaccheus paid everyone double that he robbed. 10 years was a gift for her and I believe she will get out early. She still has time to live a full life. Mr. Jean was a great loss to mankind and his life was prematurely taken.
October 4, 2019 at 8:31 am
100% correct. Thank you a proper analysis.
October 4, 2019 at 10:26 am
Wow! I never knew that Bonhoeffer quoted Adam Clayton Powell.
October 4, 2019 at 11:06 am
“Forgiveness without repentance is what theologian Dietrich Bonhoefer, quoting Adam Clayton Powell, called cheap grace.”
October 4, 2019 at 12:34 pm
That would be Adam Clayton Powell Senior-the congressman’s father. Dietrich Bonhoeffer spent a year of study in 1931 in New York and worshiped at Abyssinian Baptist Church where Powell was the pastor. Here are two paragraphs from Wikipedia describing Adam Clayton Powell during that period and his influence over Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
“From 1908 until 1936, Powell served as pastor of the century-old Abyssinian Baptist Church, whose congregation had moved north and was located in Harlem, New York. Under his leadership, in 1920 the congregation acquired a large lot and built a substantial church and community center at a cost of $334,000. With the increase in the black population to New York during the twentieth century’s Great Migration, Powell ultimately attracted a membership of 10,000 at Abyssinian, the largest Protestant membership in the country.”
“Powell had widespread influence in the community. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian and pastor, attended Abyssinian Baptist for six months while studying in New York at Union Theological Seminary before World War II. He was greatly influenced by the preaching, social work and the Black spiritual music of the congregation. Adam Clayton Powell Sr. has been credited with teaching Bonhoeffer about love of enemies, resisting systems of injustice, Christ’s presence with the poor, and the doctrine of “cheap grace”.
October 4, 2019 at 2:12 pm
Had no idea. Many thanks Jeffrey.
October 4, 2019 at 3:47 pm
Only God forgives. Forgiveness sets you u ppl to be hurt again. Man can’t hurt God but he sure can hurt man…again.
October 4, 2019 at 11:55 am
This is not a duplicate response. Only God forgives. Forgiveness sets you u ppl to be hurt again. Man can’t hurt God but he sure can hurt man…again.
October 4, 2019 at 11:58 am
Thank you Dr Karyn you have articulated so well what I felt. If you don’t mind I have taken the liberty of posting the link to your article several times on Facebook.
God bless you!
October 5, 2019 at 12:54 am
Thank you for giving form and words to my discomfort over the way we (white people and white media) sensationalize and glamorize such personal acts as Brandt Jean’s. To me, he released some of the weight of grief through his action. He for-gave in the sense of giving it forward, unto Guyger. What she does with that is hers alone. What the rest of us do in the face of so many injustices is on us.
Meanwhile, in the words of Damon Young, we truly are voyeurs, seeking some second-hand pleasure (or removal of pain/discomfort). We do not get absolved until and unless we first repent.
October 4, 2019 at 12:18 pm
John Brown’s sister just wrote a blog yall all need to read. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO BE SAVED
October 4, 2019 at 12:57 pm
Dr Karyn Carlo…THANK-YOU!!KEEP IT COMING!!!!
October 4, 2019 at 1:22 pm
He made a decision to hug her and forgive her no big deal. We are making it something that it is not.It is his business who he wants to firgive.Forgiveness literally means to let go and perhaps this is a way of him letting go.
October 4, 2019 at 1:37 pm
I can’t speak for all white Christians, but I, for one, never “cast myself in the role of Jesus” when reading a Bible story. I relate far more to the Romans, or any of the other groups who persecuted Christ, the scapegoat, victim of the mob. I understand your complaint – and your disgust for “cheap grace” – but this young man’s stunning act of grace was certainly not cheap for HIM. It has already cost him a great deal, earning him the criticism of many, including his own people. Was it cheap grace for me? No, because it wasn’t FOR me. I don’t feel “forgiven” because I had no hand in this terrible tragedy. I am simply inspired by this young man’s action, and made hopeful by it. I believe he understands the true meaning of the gospel. The gospel is not JUST a socio-political tract. (Or, if it is, I’ve been worshipping a false god… ) I believe the gospel is far more revolutionary, and this young man gets it. He understands that radical (undeserved) forgiveness – i.e. grace – is the magic formula that actually changes the world… because it changes hearts. And only when the hearts of enough individuals change will SYSTEMS change. We saw it with the Charleston 9. Their radical act of forgiveness – so surprising, so inspiring, so humbling to the rest of us – actually brought down the Confederate flag from the SC Statehouse grounds. Nobody else had been able to make that happen, and many had tried. You could call it a miracle. Who KNOWS what miracle this young man may have wrought with his actions yesterday? When you see white Christians like me celebrating his words and actions, it’s because we are humbled and shamed, inspired and moved… hopefully, to action and changed lives. I say “white Christians like me” knowing that mine is but one perspective among many. Still, I believe it’s a perspective worth considering.
October 4, 2019 at 1:57 pm