On Wednesday during the sentencing hearing of Amber Guyger, the former Dallas Police officer who while off-duty entered the apartment of 26-year-old Botham Jean. Believing she was in her apartment and that he was a burglar, she shot and killed him.
A jury convicted Guyer of murder on Tuesday which is punishable in Texas up to life in prison. She was sentenced to 10 years instead.
The verdict was just. The sentence I’m sure some will debate. During the sentencing hearing Botham Jean’s brother, Brandt Jean, had the opportunity to provide a victim impact statement. What happened on the witness stand was remarkable, the 18-year-old Brandt extended mercy to Guyger, forgave her, encouraged her to come to Christ, and gave her a hug.
Here’s the transcript of what he said:
If you truly are sorry, I can speak for myself, I forgive, and I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you.
And I don’t think anyone can say it—again I’m speaking for myself—but I love you just like anyone else.
And I’m not gonna say I hope you rot and die just like my brother did, but I presently want the best for you.
And I wasn’t going to ever say this in front of my family or anyone, but I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you, because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want you to do.
And the best would be to give your life to Christ. I’m not going to say anything else. I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want you to do.
Again I love you as a person and I don’t wish anything bad on you.
I don’t know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug, please?
He did not need to extend mercy. Certainly no one expected him to do so. He had every right to be angry. He chose something harder, much harder, but necessary for his own healing and for Guyger’s as well.
Brandt Jean honored Christ in that courtroom. He lived out Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you,” (ESV).
We love because Christ first loved us and we can forgive because we’ve also been forgiven.
We need more of this.