Today I watched Botham Jean’s little brother, Brandt Jean, say he forgave the woman that killed his brother. I’ll be honest, my first reaction was not warm and fuzzy. I had to process through to figure out why I, unlike many Christians, was not truly excited.
After some thought, I realized that I was battling with my identities that can take over depending on the situation. My four main identities are Christian, Black, Woman, and American. I would like to say that being Christian is the main identity I use. I like to think and react the way I assume God would want me to, especially in race-driven narratives.
But today my identity as a Black Woman made me angry at this young man for forgiving Guyger, truly angry. My reasoning? I have experienced white women winning at several different moments in my life when others in the same situation have lost. I felt in this situation that another white woman was winning. She not only received a few years in prison (comparatively speaking) but also received forgiveness and 2 hugs!
Now y’all. If my brother was on trial for the same thing he would receive more than 10 years in prison and would not have received a hug from anyone. I don’t understand it.
My identity as an American was a little confused as well. Where’s the justice for Botham? Ten years is hardly justice for a man that was in his own home and was shot. Liberty and justice for all, that includes Jean’s family. We learn in physics that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This can’t be equal and opposite.
I was scrolling on Facebook and read the following quote: “Christian” principle aside, Black people forgive to survive.- Averis Anderson
This hit me right in the heart because it’s true. I’ve always said to be Christian and black in America has to be one of the hardest things anyone can do. You must constantly forgive and attempt to look like Jesus. I went to a multi-ethnic church before moving to Atlanta and remember after yet another incident involving a shooting of an unarmed black man having a facebook conversation with a white male who attended my church. I say conversation because we truly did not argue. But what I will say is that I felt unheard and that he was trying to slap a Jesus bandaid on my pain and worry.
And you know what.. God asked me to apologize to him; not the other way around. He refused to see me and understand the situation through my eyes. He just knew telling me about Jesus that Jesus I already knew was going to make it better. But Jesus told us that if your “brother” (I used that word loosely in this scenario) has an ought against you you make amends (Matt. 5:23-24). So that’s what I did. I choose to do what Jesus asks of us. But that mess is hard day in and day out.
So no, I don’t understand fully Brandt Jean’s wishes for Guyger. But, I do believe in God, and I believe in the power of prayer and I believe in salvation. So yes, Brandt Jean did the right thing in forgiving and praying for her salvation. I agree totally.
If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
God is good y’all.