What is the one act that has had the biggest impact on your life? Most of us will have a story that immediately comes to mind. Maybe it was a parent or teacher who believed in us when nobody else did or a camp or conference that changed the trajectory of your life. But I think there is a much more significant act.[In October 2019], the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas, Texas, was the scene of a moment that has sparked both wild approval and significant controversy.
A Crazy & Amazing Story
Amber Guyger was a police officer who entered the wrong apartment by mistake. She ended up shooting Botham Jean, an African American man who was living there. Guyger was convicted of murder by a jury. During her sentencing hearing, things got a little crazy.
Botham’s brother, Brandt, was talking before the courtroom and Guyger. Here is what he had to say:
Imagine saying these words to someone who murdered a member of your family:
“I love you just like anyone else. I personally want the best for you.” – Brandt Jean
No matter who you are, there is a reaction to a moment like this.
You may be thinking about the injustice to a family who lost a loved one or moved by emotion at how noble of a gesture this is.
But I want to encourage you to move past the emotions of the moment and really listen to what Brandt Jean said. “I want the best for you, and the best is giving your life to Christ.” Then, imagine giving a hug to this person who has caused you and your family so much pain.
This is what it’s all about. Jean’s love and ability to forgive is because he has received that same love and forgiveness from Jesus.
Forgiveness is not just, and that’s why it is the one act with the biggest impact.
If you are a follower of Jesus, then you have come to the place of understanding how much your sin has offended God. Our sin is what resulted in the murder of Jesus Christ. But God – two of the most magnificent words in all the Bible – is rich in mercy, and He chooses to forgive us. (Ephesians 2:4-5; Ephesians 4:32)
Why is Christianity more than a religion? Because we are all like Amber Guyger – overwhelmingly guilty of doing great harm and wrong (even if sometimes we do it by accident), but God forgives us and embraces us. We don’t just believe in Jesus as some set of theological statements, but we have encountered His mercy and forgiveness. We don’t get what we deserve, and it’s changed our lives forever.
I can hear all the “but’s” now. We will worry about people taking advantage of us, or becoming wimps who never fight for real justice to take place.
I’m so grateful God didn’t avoid forgiving me even though He knew I would have times where I would take advantage of that love He has shown. God’s act of forgiveness has changed my life.
Maybe we can learn from Brandt Jean. What would be different about our lives and relationships if our highest priority was for others to have the absolute best – and that best is to know Jesus Christ?
In a world with a million causes seeking to help you have a significant impact, perhaps we should just look around at the people in our life and ask – who do I need to forgive today? This one act will help you have the biggest impact possible in the life of another person.