On October 2, 2019, Amber Guyger was found guilty of murdering Botham Jean. Do you remember the story? She is the police officer who went into the wrong apartment and shot Mr. Jean. He died. After the jury sentenced her to 10 year years, the brother of the deceased hugged Ms. Guyger and told her that he forgave her! He did this in the courtroom. Shortly after the verdict was read!
Many were shocked and dismayed. How could he hug her after she killed his brother? As if that wasn’t enough, the judge hugged her too! It was truly one big hugfest going on.
There were also people shocked because they felt that her sentence was too light. She only got 10 years and will only probably serve half of that time. I admit I was shocked that she got any time at all. Maybe I am jaded and just feel like police have gotten away with killing us for a long, long..time.
Because of this, I found it hard to forgive Amber for taking Botham Jean’s life! All of the instances of cops killing Black men came roaring to the surface and it clouded my vision. I wanted her to suffer like so many of my brethren. I didn’t want her to have the benefit of White Privilege.
See what happens when we let our emotions get in the way? I was basically holding her accountable for all the Black men who have died by the hands of cops. And that isn’t fair to her. Even though this is true, it still was difficult to wrap my head around it.
But then I started being consumed by the story and reading everything I could get my hands on about it. I was obsessed by it! And therein lies the problem. My infatuation with the story was making me angry over something I had no control over. This is why forgiveness is so vital. It permits us to evict the bad thoughts from our mind and allows positive ones to take their place.
While this seems like such a simple concept, it can be very hard to do! If only we could realize that forgiveness is for us. It has nothing to do with letting the perpetrator off the hook. Or condoning what they have done. It is merely a method of freeing ourselves from the torment and rage that has taken over our psyche.
When you look at forgiveness with a whole new set of eyes, you can see it much more clearly. I have to admit though that I am still working on exercising forgiveness each and every day. And that’s the key. Merely by opening your mind to the possibility of forgiving someone is a step in the right direction. May you continue to keep your mind and heart open to the journey of forgiveness!!