“And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
– Mark 11:25
The words of Jesus above are just one of many scriptures on forgiveness found in the Bible.
Yesterday, a Dallas County courtroom saw one of the most profound real-life examples of forgiveness demonstrated by a Christian, the brother of a slain, innocent man.
Botham Jean, 27, was shot while eating ice cream in his own apartment by a then-Dallas police officer who mistakenly believed she was in her own apartment and the victim was an intruder.
But what happened at the sentencing of the trial was an amazing example and testament to the Christian principles of love and forgiveness taught by Jesus Christ.
Jesus taught that – in order to be forgiven by God – we must forgive others.
“But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
– Matthew 6:15
“If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?”
– 1 John 4:20
The deceased man’s 18-year-old brother, Brandt Jean, spoke to the courtroom and former cop Amber Guyger, who was found guilty of murder and sentenced to ten years in prison.
“I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you,” Brandt Jean said. “I want the best for you because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want for you. Give your life to Christ. I think giving your life to Christ is the best thing Botham would want for you.”
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
– 2 Timothy 3:16-17
After the sentencing, the judge in the case, Judge Tammy Kemp, gave defendant Amber Guyger a hug and also spoke to her privately. She appeared to give Guyger words of advice.
“You just need a tiny mustard seed of faith,” Judge Kemp told her. “you start with this.” The judge then gave the Bible to Guyger.
“Because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
– Philippians 1:5-6
God repeatedly forgives murderers in the Bible. Killers have been among those doing some of the Lord’s greatest works in the Bible.
King David. Moses. Saul, who was renamed Paul, who became one of Christianity’s greatest leaders, and author of thirteen, perhaps fourteen, a majority of the 27 books of the New Testament.
David and Saul didn’t necessarily murder someone with their own hands, but they were involved in the circumstances that caused someone’s death as a result of their actions.
God mercifully forgave these men. It does not mean that their transgressions had no consequences. Remember, Moses suffered for 40 years before God used him.
The bigger lesson here is that because these men repented, declared Yahweh/Jehovah to be the one and only true God, and completely devoted themselves to the Lord – God filled them with His Holy Spirit so that they may do greater works for His purposes.
God is a God of second chances, a God of forgiveness.
If we are going to be one with God, we need to possess his spirit of forgiveness also.