This case is a big step forward for justice and equality for the black community. Over the last few years, we have seen footage of unarmed black men getting shot by white police officers and convictions seem to be rare. Now let me be clear because these types of topics tend to be divisive. I do not think that each white police officer that has been a part of a shooting like this is racist. I do not think that each black person has been always in the right and free of guilt. I do believe that the media plays a fairly large role in the racist theme that we see consistently, but nonetheless, there are videos of shootings that are undeniable. This is one of them.
As a young black male, to say that I’m not scared whenever I see police lights in my rearview mirror would be a lie. I can remember my first negative encounter with the police.
In 7th grade, I was walking with two friends, one was white and the other was black. We weren’t bad kids. We were at the park in our hometown when we ran into another classmate and his friend from out of town who were two white kids. For whatever reason, they felt the need to mess with us and be problematic, especially the one from out of town, so we decided to walk back to our neighborhood. These two followed us on the other side of the road yelling at us as they were walking in the middle of the on-coming traffic, yelling about how he was a thug or some nonsense like that. Cars were having to go around him. My group was walking in the grass the entire time and had no intention of doing anything they were doing. I remember it like it was yesterday. An older white male officer showed up and got out of the car and immediately began yelling at my group (while the other group was in clear sight right across from us) that we were being a problem and that we were going to go to jail. So as innocent and brave young middle schoolers, we began to yell back and attempt to tell the officer that we weren’t the ones walking illegally and stupidly. It didn’t really matter what we were saying at this point. I remember the officer only focusing on our group and yelling, “Boy, I’ll have you thrown in jail.” At this point, we were furious at the mistreatment that we had just received and went home to tell our mothers. Not much came from it though. My mother and sister called up to the police station and complained and that was it. Really since then, I’ve always been apprehensive about interacting with police officers.
It hurt to feel as though, no matter, what we said, we were the ones in the wrong. It hurt that the other group wasn’t threatened and yelled at. It hurt that we could clearly feel the injustice happening to us. It hurt typing this, but I share this to say: There is a problem in America where unarmed black men are being shot by white police officers. Some may or may not agree with this statement and that’s fine.
But what we saw from Brandt Jean this past week is what we all need to remember. In the midst of division, disagreements, pain, frustrations, abuse, and death, God’s love is far bigger, greater, and more powerful than we can ever imagine. We saw a beautiful example of the grace and mercy that God shows us through the ACTIONS of Brandt Jean. My good friend Gideon shared on Facebook how we as Christians are the Amber Guyger. We have committed unjust murder on Jesus with the life that we lived before we accepted Him. We are the reason Jesus had to go to the cross. He was rejected so that we could be accepted by our Father in Heaven. I deserved death, but Jesus gives me life.
Because of this reality, I have a personal responsibility to forgive. I forgive the police officer that mistreated me and my friends. I forgive the classmate that maliciously called me a nigger (and the other ones that did). I forgive those that have treated my wife and me differently for being an awesome interracial couple. I forgive the white police officers for shooting people that look like, me unjustly. Lastly, I forgive myself for the time I spent being bitter, holding resentment, and refusing to do as Jesus has done for me and that is to, forgive.
In conclusion: Because of Jesus, we have a responsibility to forgive. The Bible talks about how “God delights in showing mercy.” What would it look like if each day we chose to delight in showing mercy? I know that I am quick to receive it, but I am so slow to extend it. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what that person did to you wasn’t wrong. It means that you are clearly aware of the pain that occurred, but you’re not letting that offense stop you from loving them the way that Jesus has and will continue to show love to you. Is there anyone you need to forgive?