Botham Jean’s Brother Forgave Botham’s Killer

| October 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

Brandt Jean, Botham Jean’s brother, hugged Botham’s killer. He showed grace and forgiveness to his brother’s murderer. I have shown less grace to people who don’t text me back. Honestly, it’s probably what she needed but it won’t hit her until later. 


A punch to her face would have made him feel better. Shanking her would have been justice. Even shooting her in the same way can be argued for being what she deserved. Those things would be just. But it wouldn’t be grace.

Forgiveness is for the offended person, not the offender. It is often needed to resolve and completely move forward. This has nothing to do with her as a person but everything to do with him needing to move past it. It’s a personal decision and should be respected as such.

Can you imagine doing something so heinous and the victim’s family member(s?) forgiving you, hugging you, wishing you didn’t have to go to prison? What would you do with that love on you? How would you handle that?

Perhaps you already know – you cheated and she forgave you and didn’t hold it against you; you broke a friend’s trust and they took you back and nothing changed in how they treated you; you had real friends when you were unlovable and they don’t hold it against you; you stopped speaking to long-time non-toxic friends because you needed “to get rid of things that were toxic” and never explained why you did something that hurtful to them and they took you back; you were the bully forgiven and it almost broke you to get that forgiveness. All of these things were not deserved for your actions, but you got forgiven and your relationships healed. 

Even when you were a repeat offender, just like me sometimes when I’ve asked for forgiveness.

I aspire to be the type of believer that Botham Jean’s brother is. I don’t think I could forgive the killer until later. He is a better human being than I am.

My story of forgiveness, when I’ve given it, is for people who meant a lot to me, yet they hurt me. My first relationship was abusive emotionally and toxic. I didn’t feel the need to forgive him for what he did. I never thought about it. I just left him and didn’t go back.

My next relationship hurt more. That was the first time I was in love. He blamed me for things not going well in the end when he was 50% responsible. I chose to forgive him right away even though we didn’t talk for a very long time afterward. He asked for forgiveness and I told him I had already done it.

The dating relationship afterward was also bad and I got strung along. I didn’t forgive him for hurting me, I just moved on.

How can someone forgive someone who hurt them so bad the way Brandt has forgiven? He doesn’t know the killer. You’d think this would mean he could forget her quickly.

I’ve forgiven my parents for mistakes they made in raising me. My dad, I don’t think, ever forgave himself. They matter to me. One ex mattered to me more than the others, and I forgave him. I’ve forgiven friends who’ve hurt me and other friends call me stupid for taking them back – and some friends hurt-hurt me, hurt-hurt me. I know all those people mentioned. I’m less forgiving for people I don’t know who flip me off in traffic when they’re in the wrong, or try to rape me after knowing me for a year and claim they were playing around even after throwing my clothes far away from me along with my glasses so I couldn’t leave.

And I’m fine with not forgiving them. I think it’s because, for me, I forgave the people I wanted to keep a relationship with on some level and others I was okay with letting go. I have not felt the need to forgive them and I have not felt the Holy Spirit convicting me to forgive them. He has only convicted me to forgive people when I couldn’t move past it.

That’s what held me back from moving forward: forgiveness. Maybe that’s what Brandt needs to move forward – to forgive the woman who took his brother away from him. God bless him. Good for him.

How this looks, though, in the light of white state-sanctioned violence against black people, is horrific. Here we have yet another white woman who used her tears to get her way and got off on a light sentence for murder and will be out in ten years! Is the “justice system” serious right now?!

Why are black people celebrated for forgiving people who take away their loved ones in violent crimes but no white person who has ever been taken away by a black person in a violent crime has been given the same forgiveness, from what I can find. It may come later, but it’s never in public at the sentencing.

Why are we always the ones who have to forgive and take the high road? It’s over. It’s fatiguing. It can be debated that it’s the right thing to do, but we get nothing in return for being the standard of human decency that others admire and wish they could be. There is no change in behavior of the people who admire us – they still do awful things to us and we forgive them.

We are still incarcerated for the same crimes as white people at higher rates and our men are very likely to die in incidents with police officers than other races. We are the only racial group with a wealth gap that will never be closed. We are the only racial group disenfranchised at all levels of society from voting to employment. We are told to forgive in church and in the Bible. However, it’s human to hold grudges and often it’s supernatural to forgive and we’re not all there and it’s fine. We have a lot to be angry about.

Our forgiveness in instances like this reeks of subservience to white people and “keeping our place.” The killer got a hug from him and the bailiff did her hair! What black criminals are treated that way in a courtroom? What do we get from being forgiving? We are a forgiving and loving people – I love that – and we do anything to take in other people and even fight for this country which has been ungrateful to us more than it has been grateful. But we have to be okay with being angry too and stop putting up with nonsense.

Why did the judge hug her, tho?

Sure, Jesus said forgive your brother indefinitely, but that’s a standard to live up to. God is fine working with you while you don’t forgive. He’s worked with me on not forgiving my sexual assaulter and I am completely okay not forgiving him now. That may change later, but for now, I am fine.

I am also fine with Brandt’s choice to forgive Botham Jean’s murderer. That is Jesus in 2019 for ya. No, for real. That’s the Jesus that Jesus was/is. I just wish it did not come at the expense of black people being the sacrificial lambs yet again on the altar of human decency and getting nothing in return.

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