Who Knew A Hug Could Cause Such Anger!
October 8, 2019 Random Thoughts

Last week, the world witnessed an unbelievable act of forgiveness when Brandt Jean, the brother of Botham Jean who was shot to death by Amber Guyger chose to give her a hug in the courtroom. Watch the video below and we’ll talk after…

Brandt Jean Hugging Amber Guyger

Forgiveness is a topic I study and read about often because I’ve experienced a lot of hurt in my life and therefore have a lot to forgive. They say a great marriage is made up of two great forgivers. Mastering forgiveness while I’m unmarried is one way to make good use of this time. For me, I want forgiveness to rule and reign in my heart.

I’ve read a lot of books on forgiveness. Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself; An Invitation To The Miracle Of Forgiveness by Ruth Graham is the best book I’ve read on this topic so far. I started writing this post on Sunday to publish on Monday, however, when Monday rolled around, I didn’t hit publish because it didn’t seem quite ready and then this book was in my mailbox. Look at God! I’ll be referring to it quite a bit in this post.


Many people don’t understand forgiveness and that’s why I believe many are mad at Brandt for doing what his Christian faith calls him to do. In chapter 2, Forgiveness Isn’t Fair, Ruth starts it with a quote by C.S. Lewis that says, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” Brandt chose to forgive the inexcusable in Amber. Ruth goes on to say, “Unfairness, whether real or perceived, is hard to bear and challenging to forgive.”

Let’s be clear, if the tables were turned and Botham “accidentally” walked into an apartment and killed a white woman, he would never see the light of day again. So in this case, when the majority say it’s not fair, there’s nothing perceived about it. The list of unarmed black men who died at the hands of white police officers who were not convicted is long and that is why many were shocked when Amber was actually convicted of murder and angry when she only received a mere ten-year sentence.

Allison Jean’s cry for justice.

In chapter 3, God’s Heartbeat, Ruth says, “Forgiveness is so important to God that he commands us to forgive. It is not a recommendation or a suggestion but a direct command.” Since Brandt professes Christianity, he has to live it, especially when it’s uncomfortable. Doing what he did in that courtroom was not easy but he did it because it is the standard by which God calls him and those of us who profess Christianity to live. In that same chapter, Ruth shares six things forgiveness is not:


1. Forgiveness is not natural. What Brandt did was not natural at all. “It is not human to automatically forgive a wrong. “When wronged, we desire justice or revenge. Our natural response is to be hurt or angered. To think, feel and behave differently from all of those natural responses requires a supernatural change within us—the same supernatural force that was at work on the cross. Forgiveness is from God and it is supernatural.

2. Forgiveness is not easy. Many people think forgiveness comes easily to those of us who love the Lord. I can tell you personally it doesn’t. “Forgiving those who have wronged us can be a great struggle even for the spiritually mature. Brandt said it took him a year to arrive at the place of forgiving Amber publicly. Forgiveness is raw. It’s messy. But so is life—real life.”

3. Forgiveness is not an emotion. I agree with Ruth when she says, “I think a lot of us assume forgiveness is all about emotions, but it is not defined by how we feel. Yes, our emotions get involved, however, forgiveness is as choice, an act of the will, a decision that once made becomes a process that is practiced. In that way it’s a lot like love—not the emotional high of the sentiment of love, but the decision to commit yourself to the interests of another no matter what comes and than acting on that decision. Forgiveness is all about God—who he is and what he has done on the cross—rather than our feelings.”

4. Forgiveness is not forgetting. “Forgiveness actually involves remembering, not forgetting. In order for us to do the work of forgiving we must be able and willing to examine the situation, discern and tell ourselves the truth about it and make the choice to forgive it. Trying to simply forget a painful situation is entering the unhealthy territory of repressing memories.”

5. Forgiveness is not dependent on the offender’s actions or attitudes.Remember that in forgiving, we are following the example of Jesus, who while hanging on the cross, called out, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Gods forgiveness is not dependent on our good behavior. Following Gods example, we can forgive someone even if they have not changed their ways, even if they have not confessed, even if they have not asked for forgiveness or are flaunting their wrong. Forgiveness is about a decision we make, not that the offender makes.”

6. Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. “Forgiveness means pardoning your offender and asking nothing in return. It is freely given and literally requires nothing of the offender. Does that mean moving on as if nothing happened? Wiping the slate clean? Putting on a happy face? Trusting and making myself vulnerable to the offender once again? No! Forgiveness is unconditional. Reconciliation, on the other hand is conditional. Sometimes it is healthier to remove yourself from a person or situation that is unhealthy.”


So what is forgiveness? In part, Ruth says, “Forgiveness is a process that takes time. Brandt and his family will go back home to St. Lucia where the process of forgiveness will continue. She continues; “When we forgive, we are displaying the character of God. Forgiveness is a sacred sacrifice you offer to God, a gift you give to Him. It is an opportunity to practice a divine quality. It’s about having the opportunity to model and display God’s character to a broken world in desperate need of true forgiveness.

Who knows what will happen to Amber as she serves her time. She will certainly have lots of time to reflect on her actions and on the hug and the words Brandt said to her about giving her life to Christ. Brandt planted a seed that day. Perhaps Amber will meet someone in prison who comes along to water that seed and she will give her life to Christ and make a decision to live for Him. Wouldn’t that be something? Press play below to see the heart of the man Botham Jean who is now present with the Lord.

Botham Jean 9/29/1991 – 9/6/2018

Something to think about…

What say you? What are your thoughts on forgiveness and this case overall? Have you ever been in Brandt’s shoes? 

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"28" Comments
  1. These are such TRUE and wise words about forgiveness. Thank you for mining the riches of that book and then sharing them here. We need our thinking to be refined in this area.
    Michele Morin recently posted…Sunday Scripture ~ Psalm 46:7My Profile

  2. This has indeed been so interesting to watch. And props to the Judge as well for speaking boldly of her faith.
    Lauren Sparks recently posted…His Life and DeathMy Profile

  3. I give him credit. I don’t think I could have done it, at least not yet #dreamteam
    Jeremy@ThirstyDaddy recently posted…Girls Kicking ButtMy Profile

    • @Jeremy,

      You’re a part of the majority when you say you couldn’t have done it yet. That response is completely understandable, especially under the circumstances. I mean his brother was relaxing in his home enjoying a bowl of ice cream and ends up shot and killed by a cop?
      Yvonne Chase recently posted…Who Knew A Hug Could Cause Such Anger!My Profile

  4. When I saw this my heart got convicted. It was God grace that had this brother be an example to the body of Christ about forgiveness. I love how you mention how is not natural, it’s supernatural. I pray that she gives her heart to the Lord and this gets turned around to God’s glory. It was awesome to watch and a reminder of God love. Tx for posting!

  5. Not only did I cry when I first watched this video, I can still cry even thinking about it. Botham’s brother made such an impact on the world through this act of forgiveness. And you refine it by pointing out that forgiveness doesn’t mean an erasure of consequences. We continue to need teachings on forgiveness so we don’t mistake it for other things, but appreciate it for what it is.

    I also agree with you that had the people been reversed, the sentence would have been totally different. 🙁 That’s another thing that we must continue to get better. Lord, have mercy on us and keep forgiving us. We need help down here.

    • @Lisa,

      Thank you for acknowledging that we need to do better by black people in America. As much as we preach and teach forgiveness, we need to do the same for justice. The body of Christ needs to speak up and stand up for righteousness for all. Black people are literally being killed like flies yet there is no consequence. Another black person, Atatiana Jefferson was killed in her home over the weekend by a cop!
      Yvonne Chase recently posted…Who Knew A Hug Could Cause Such Anger!My Profile

  6. I am currently reading the same book and it is wonderful. To see the act of forgiveness in this young man was so powerful and moving. He even was not sure how his family would react. And the judge wiping her eyes and her actions afterwards, just broke me. May I possess a heart of forgiveness and extend mercy to those who have wronged me as it is the only response which mirrors the heart of God. Blessings, Yvonne!
    Joanne Viola recently posted…Scarlett’s Spectacles – A Delightful Children’s Book!My Profile

  7. I had read about this situation but hadn’t watched the video yet. Oh, my. It brought tears to my eyes. What a tremendous example of forgiveness. Thank you for fleshing out the other aspects of it as well. I think sometimes people are afraid that if they forgive, that means the other person “gets away with it.” No, the other person still has consequences to face. I love that C. S. Lewis quote–really puts it in perspective.
    Barbara Harper recently posted…“Just Wait: It Gets Harder”My Profile

  8. I had seen this story but hadn’t watch the video. I really couldn’t help but cry. It’s too beautiful!
    It’s sad that people would be upset by this and shows the current state of the hearts of many.
    Rhonda Simmons (a.k.a. The Kitty Cat Enthusiast) recently posted…Thankful Thursdays and Car RidesMy Profile

    • People are upset by it because another innocent black man was killed yet the consequence didn’t meet the crime. People were upset that forgiveness often clouds our cries for justice. I completely understand the upset. There is no justice for black people in America and day by day we see that Black lives do not matter. That’s why we’re upset. A black man can’t even enjoy a bowl of ice cream in the privacy of his home…Think about it. You’d probably be upset too.
      Yvonne Chase recently posted…Who Knew A Hug Could Cause Such Anger!My Profile

  9. Wow, Yvonne! What an act of courage! Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to wrap your head around as a Christian. So difficult to do sometimes. But God forgave us, so we must forgive others.

    I remember sitting in the courtroom with the man who killed my sister and saying, “I forgive you. I FORGIVE you. I forgive YOU!” I had to. I had to forgive him not only because it was the right thing to do, not only because that’s what Jesus would do, not only because God forgave me, but because I didn’t want to carry bitterness around with me for the rest of my days. Thanks for posting this!


    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

  10. I cried when I watched this on TV the first time. His very open, personal, and public display of forgiveness took my breath away. His example of forgiveness was one of the most moving and powerful things I have ever seen and convicts me. God bless this man, and his family and bring them comfort and peace.
    Sylvia | Grace for a Gypsy recently posted…A GATHERING OF FRIENDS LINK PARTY 8My Profile

    • @Sylvia,

      Yes, his act of forgiveness was moving and powerful. At the young age of eighteen, I’m not sure he understands the magnitude of it all. And yes, may God be with him and his family as they heal not only from the loss of their son but also from the loss of Joshua Brown who was shot and killed.
      Yvonne Chase recently posted…Who Knew A Hug Could Cause Such Anger!My Profile

  11. Stopping by again to say thanks for linking up with us at the GATHERING OF FRIENDS LINK PARTY 8. pinning
    Sylvia | Grace for a Gypsy recently posted…A GATHERING OF FRIENDS LINK PARTY 8My Profile

  12. Some things, the natural mind cannot comprehend, or even know. Thanks for visiting, Yvonne. Blessings to you!
    Boma recently posted…What’s your point of reference?My Profile

  13. It is amazing what God’s love do in and through us. Forgiveness is a difficult journey that only the Lord can lead us through and give us strength for. I definitely need to read Ruth Graham Bell’s book. Thank you for sharing this touching story and the truths about forgiveness.

  14. Yvonne, thank you for sharing this post. I too had seen the report of the shooting but to see the young man practising forgiveness was so moving. I can see it has had a huge impact on the lives of those watching. I hear you when you talk about injustice to black people, but may I say that God chose this black man to show the world what it means to forgive because we were first forgiven.
    We will feature this post on the next Blogger’s Pit Stop.

  15. Yvonne, I stop by to read your words most weeks, but some glitch on my computer tends to stop me from leaving a comment! I sure hope this one sticks! Thank you so much for your faithful encouragement in this space. And thank you for today’s post on forgiveness. These are powerful truths!

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  18. Wow, Yvonne. What a heart-rendering and soul-stirring post on forgiveness. The power of that video is undeniable. I’m sure it’s seen as foolishness to some. But only someone with the strength and love of Christ living in them can forgive in this way. Ruth Graham’s book sounds amazing. My favorite point was that forgiveness and reconcilation are not the same. A false belief about forgiveness is that reconciliation is mandatory. But reconciliation means both parties admit the offense and agree to restore the relationship, which is not always possible, healthy, or safe. Thanks for sharing and writing this post! So inspirational!

  19. Wow, that is some seriously powerful stuff. One of the things I always remind myself about forgiveness is that it has nothing to do with who is right or who is wrong. Forgiveness has everything to do with with healing and grace. We are all flawed. Every single one of us. We all make mistakes. We all do bad things. Forgiveness is the only way to heal when we fall victim to the flaws, mistakes, or actions of others. And so often, we are caused indescribable pain by others that was never intended. Being able to find true forgiveness in one’s heart is the final step in healing. I also think it easy to confuse forgiveness with reconciliation. We can forgive without ever reconciling. Such a great post. Thanks so much for sharing this and linking it up with me.


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