What do you imagine when you think of the word, “power”?
Physical prowess, the might of an individual or a nation, or do you conjure up something immaterial such as the power of a person’s character or will?
What is true power? Is it the physical, the mental, or does it transcend these ideas?
I believe it does. And I believe we witnessed one of the greatest visible effects of that power this week. It wasn’t in the heated politics in America, Hong Kong, or Britain, nor any sporting event, or even an inspirational story of someone overcoming the odds through sheer force of will. No, we saw the effect of true and lasting, eternal power being exercised in a young man who sat in a courtroom, holding back tears as he spoke.
Brandt Jean sat, a year of waiting for justice after his brother, Botham, was shot and killed in his own apartment, facing the very woman who killed his brother and upended their family, offering her something the world is unable to comprehend and unwilling to give: the forgiveness of the Gospel found in Christ alone.
“I know if you go to God and ask Him, He will forgive you,” Brandt told his brother’s killer, Amber Guyger, through tears. “I love you just like anyone else and I’m not going to say I hope you don’t and die.”
While people chanted outside and Facebook filled its feeds with people decrying or defending her, the soft-spoken brother of Botham spoke the most profound words the world will ever hear, “Give your life to Christ,” he said, echoing the Gospel of forgiveness that has been preached for more than two millennia. “I think giving your life to Christ is the best thing Botham would want for you.”
He then turned to the judge and asked if he could give her a hug. The judge obliged and the same woman who a year ago took another man’s life received an offer of the Gospel of peace and a hug from the very brother of the man she killed.
Often the brightest beauty shines in the midst of the darkest tragedy. When Christ was being crucified, He prayed to His father, “Father, forgive them.” Stephen said similar words in Acts. And throughout church history we have witnessed that same power to ask God to forgive the very same people doing so much harm. This week, it continued in Brandt Jean.
Individuals and governments have the power to make people do things against their will. Only God has the power to take a heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh, changing our very will to love what He loves, and forgive as He forgave. That is true, divine, everlasting power.
Take time this week to note the responses to this action from Brandt in various news outlets. Watch as people attempt to explain this action that transcends human nature. What Brandt Jean said and did will reverberate through the years. I pray Amber does indeed repent and give her life to Christ. And I thank God for this beautiful picture of forgiveness we saw in a Dallas courtroom this week.
Brandt Jean is following in the footsteps of his Savior; I pray we do the same.