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Brandt Jean -The Teenager Who Shook The World With His Decision To Forgive His Brother’s Murderer

About a week ago the internet went ablaze with news report about Amber Guyger and Brandt Jean. It was not like any other story.

A year ago, Brandt’s older brother, Botham Jean, was shot dead in his own apartment by police officer- Amber Guyger. In her own words she said she thought the young man was an intruder in her own flat, and she shot him twice, only to realize that was not her flat but his. She was fired by the police department and has been in police custody ever since.

Last week they were in court for Amber Guyger’s  sentencing, and what happened next left no dry eye.

18-year-old Brandt told her: "If you truly are sorry, I forgive you. And I know, if you go to God and ask him, He will forgive you. I'm speaking for myself, not my family, but I love you just like anyone else. I'm not going to say I hope you rot and die just like my brother did. I want the best for you. I don't even want you to go to jail."

Judge Tammy Kemp then went to her chambers and returned with a Bible.

Surprisingly she too hugged the killer, and told her: "You just need a tiny mustard seed of faith. You start with this."

The unbelievable scene played out at the end of a long trial that sprang from the shooting of Mr Jean, a black PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant, on September 26, 2018. He was an incredible young man who held so much promise. He was a worship leader and a Bible study teacher at his church. He was doing so well for his community before his untimely demise by the hands of Amber Guyger.

During the trial a prosecutor asked: "When you shot him twice, you intended to kill him, didn't you?" Guyger replied: "I did."

Giving evidence, she wept and told the court: "I ask God for forgiveness, and I hate myself every single day. I never wanted to take an innocent person's life. I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry."

The mostly black jury of eight women and four men took less than six hours to convict her of murder.

But, while she could have been sentenced to life in prison, Guyger instead received 10 years, and will be eligible for parole in five years. Many found this very disappointing saying that if Ms. Guyger was a black person and Botham Jean was a white person, she would have been sentenced to life in prison.

A lawyer for Mr Jean's family, Lee Merritt, said: "Of course 10 years is inadequate. The entire justice system is inadequate and the work must continue."

During the trial the jury had been shown racist and offensive text messages sent by Guyger before the shooting.

In them Ms. Guyger had described how she had joked about the death of Martin Luther King Jr, and written that black police officers had "a different way of working and it shows."

In a certain text she said her dog "may be racist" and added "It's okay...I'm the same."

Mr Jean's mother, Allison, expressed that she had no idea that her son, Brandt, was going to take the action of hugging the killer.

“I think what Brandt did was to heal himself and to free himself from what has been wrapped up within him for the last year.

"And so we forgive. But I don't want forgiveness to be mistaken with a total relinquishing of responsibility.” Those were Allison’s words.

Many have sternly criticized Brandt Jean and the Judge for choosing to take the action of forgiveness. Some called it, “slavery mentality.” But Brandt chose to do what was right for him.

“But if your vision is poor, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” - Matthew 6:23

His critics are spiritually blinded and very carnal. And of course what you should expect from such people is hatred, bitterness and i forgiveness—- darkness.

Brandt was wise enough to understand the power of offering his forgiveness. He knew that it was not just good for Amber Guyger (despite the fact that she was His brother’s killer), but he also understood that making that decision was good for his healing and overall wellbeing.

Forgiveness is never easy. Jesus never said it was, but what he did say was that it was beneficial for us in this life and in the life to come.

Someone said, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Brandt Jean used that delicate opportunity to send a powerful message of forgiveness and the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. It is amazing how that message has been reverberating - sparking discussions around Christian love and bringing Jesus Christ to the spotlight. He didn’t make it about himself by pandering to certain activist groups who are looking for a platform of bitterness to spark racial violence and tension. He made it about Jesus. What a beautiful gift and precious legacy he has left for his brother. This has been carved in history and heaven will honor Brandt Jean for this.

The mayor of Dallas- Eric Johnson said: " I will never, ever forget the incredible examples of love, faith and strength personified by Botham, Brandt and the entire Jean family."

What message does this leave in your heart?
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