Forgiveness Is Freedom

Botham Jean’s brother graciously, boldly and courageously forgave Amber Guyger for murdering his brother in his own home a few years ago. There’s an echo in the black community that says black folks should stop absolving white crimes committed against us. Black Twitter said religion has made him brainwashed and he should be outraged because she was only sentenced to TEN years for murder. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this, throughout American history, African Americans have suffered at the hands of white Americans and in many cases the black, church folk extend forgiveness and sometimes even heartfelt hugs for the trespassers. Apparently, this makes people really angry and they want a different type of reaction but I’m totally unsure what that reaction should look like. I’m confused about the anger directed towards someone’s personal choice to forgive.

My cousin (dad’s side) and his cousin (his dad’s side) were killed in a horrific crash by a drunk driver who also killed all four people in his car and he later succumbed to his injuries. Our family was devastated, my cousin’s wife had a toddler at home and she was 7 months pregnant when my cousin was murdered. We had every right to be angry and we could have held on to hate, anger and animosity for that man’s fucked up choice, and some of us exercise that right. I did for a really long time because only two years prior I lost a very good friend to gun violence and I hadn’t forgiven that person for killing my friend. I was so angry, confused, and I was holding on to my pain like two cinder blocks stacked on my shoulders. My friend’s mom was quick to forgive the person who killed her son, my friend and I thought she was out of her mind. I asked her how she could even think to forgive him? She said, he is a product of a society who makes guns accessible to the general public, pent up rage with nowhere to go, and my rage will not make me feel better. Her son was dead and nothing was going to bring him back, so why be angry? I didn’t understand then. I get it now.

Perhaps Botham’s brother has that same type of understanding as my friend’s mom and who am I or you to question their capacity forgiveness? It’s mind-boggling and frankly confusing for me because of how angry people are. They say religion is brainwashing and to an extent, I agree but I think religion has different effects on people and in this instance, I think he added more good than evil in the world right now. He did what he thought was best and how can I ever in life be mad at him for that? Is he too soft on his brother’s killer? I don’t think so. What would I have him do instead? Carry around his anger? Allow himself to be weighed down by the pain and harm others? To put his hurt into the world and perpetuate a cycle of grief? For what? To save face and to appease the masses? Please get the fuck out of here with that. Groupthink is dangerous and I know the history of forgiveness in this country when it comes to blacks forgiving whites and all I have to say to that is so fucking what? I believe people are inherently good and unless they are sociopaths they won’t feel sorry anyway, but I think most people are truly sorry.

Amber Guyger, a White supremacist? Jilted lover? Drunk white girl? Careless? I don’t know. Botham Jean is dead, she will be going to jail and there are lot of emotions and thoughts about this whole thing to go around. We can talk about prisons, crimes committed by cops, White girl tears, black religion, and the list can go on forever but the fact remains that forgiving someone is freedom for YOUR soul. I’m no watchdog, and I’m not about to put a historical context on this man’s choice. Forgiveness is his powerful choice and I think he’s brave as fuck.

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