The Power of Forgiveness


Like the rest of the world, I saw this moment in the courtroom and was deeply impacted by it. This is an illustration I created of it to continue to meditate on its meaning and share it. What does this picture say to you? For me this picture says: God is love and LOVE NEVER FAILS. As I reflected on this picture, a song came to my heart:

"Have you seen Jesus my Lord? He's here in plain view...have you...seen the face of Christ on your brother? Then I say you've seen Jesus, my Lord."

-lyrics by John Fischer

The pain, love and forgiveness in brother Brandt Jean’s face depict what I imagine love looked like on the cross at Calvary as Jesus prayed,

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” -Luke 23:34 (ESV)

During the trial, Brandt, Botham's brother captivated the world's attention as he extended forgiveness to the the police officer who killed his brother. He acknowledged the loss and pain this caused, and in the midst of his pain he forgave and urged her to give her life to Jesus.

"I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want you to do. Again, I love you as a person and I don’t wish anything bad on you.” -Brandt Jean

We saw and heard Jesus' love and compassion in the courtroom. Brandt had denied self and was operating from a greater hope and promise of eternal life.

Brandt chose forgiveness over bitterness. His example softens my heart to forgive. To let go of bitterness and to love. It inspires me to be set free. Bitterness keeps us in bondage. Forgiveness sets us free. Free to love. Free to let the Spirit move. The Enemy comes to bring death. Christ came to bring life.

Dear Lord, please comfort the Jean family in their loss. Thank you for promising that you are close to the brokenhearted. You see the pain, Lord. You understand. Thank you for hope. Thank you for grace. Thank you for the victory that Botham has in Christ and that you offer to all people. He is with you in heaven, and I look forward to worshiping with him as people from every tongue and every nation worship in perfect harmony together.

Thank you for the life Botham lived that points us to Christ. Fill us with your grace to love like Botham and his family and to remember that love never fails.

We ask for injustices to be overturned and the oppressed to be set free. We are not one another’s enemy. We have the same Enemy, who was defeated at the cross. We have all received grace that we did not deserve. You offer each of us forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Help us to receive Your forgiveness that is the antidote to our anger and bitterness toward one another. I pray that as people we will put down our swords and stop fighting one another and start loving like Christ. You are good, God. Jesus Christ is Lord.

We know that it is Your kindness, Lord, that brings repentance. We pray for Your Spirit to reign down and transform our hearts and minds to speak the truth in love, to love the hurting, to speak up for the oppressed, to forgive and to have our hearts and minds transformed daily to hear from you. We crucify our flesh and seek to follow you in Spirit and in Truth.

In Jesus name,

Amen

I did not have the opportunity to meet Botham, but I felt a connection to him because he graduated from Harding University where I also attended, he lived in Dallas where I lived at the time, and he loved Jesus with all his heart so he is a brother in Christ. As I listened to friends and loved ones of Botham speak at his memorial service streamed online through Harding's website, I learned of an incredible man of faith who lived a life that continuously pointed others to Jesus. In his death, his family's response did the same. The Jean family, native to Saint Lucia, continually focused on Jesus in the memorial service for Botham. They expressed their desire for more to know Jesus, especially in their home country of Saint Lucia.

Christ’s act of forgiveness has saved millions. The example of forgiveness extended by the Jean family that captivated the world's attention makes me wonder, how could more acts of forgiveness like this shed light into the darkness and point others to Christ? How can we surrender our hearts to Him to let His love in?

“God is light, and in Him there is no darkness. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.”

I John 1: 6-10

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com