“Kill ‘Em All” or “Lord, Forgive Them”
A little more than three weeks ago, my grandson’s car was stolen from a Dallas downtown parking garage. It wasn’t the car being stolen that hurt near as much as it was what was in the trunk of his car that hurt him and his mama the most.
This side of our family are the fishing lovers which was initiated years ago by Papa, my husband, who loved any kind of fishing and passed it on to our daughter, Staci, and onto Payton. When Papa left for heaven, I knew I would pass along Papa’s fishing gear, tackle, fishing vests, fly rod, and fishing necklaces that held all the tools for making leaders for lines, getting the fish off the hooks, etc. All of that was in Payton’s car trunk, plus Papa’s briefcase which held many other treasures from Papa. We prayed and hoped beyond hope that the thieves would leave all of that in the trunk.
The police found the car. Payton and Staci went to see the stripped-beyond-recognition remains yesterday. Nothing was left in the trunk – even the liner was gone. Staci sent me the photos, and my first words were: “God, kill ‘em!” Immediately, I thought: “Lord, have mercy, did I really say that?” Staci quickly retorted: “I think it’s better to pray “Lord, bring them to repentance and to You.” Lord, have mercy! Yes, that’s what I meant! 😊
I know the scripture: “What the heart is full of, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45) and I had to ask that God purify my heart so it’s not so quick to speak words I don’t think I really meant. I was prompted to write this post after I saw the video of Brandt, the younger brother of Botham Jean speak to former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger from the witness stand after she was sentenced for killing 26-year-old Botham Jean in his apartment. At the sentencing phase, Jean’s younger brother told her: “I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want for you.” He added: “I love you as a person, and I don’t wish anything bad on you.”
He then asked the court for permission to hug her. The image of the two embracing made national headlines. The prosecutor said that in 37-years of practicing law, “I never saw anything like that.” Brandt was right about his older brother’s character and faith. Botham Jean was born in Saint Lucia, an island in the eastern Caribbean. He became a Christian at an early age and began preaching as a teenager. He sang in his church choir, in college, and at Dallas West Church of Christ, where he led worship the Sunday before he was killed.
CNN reported that after Brandt Jean’s remarkable act of grace, District Judge Tammy Kemp gave Guyger a Bible and also hugged her. “You can have mine. I have three or four more at home,” the judge said. “This is the one I use every day. This is your job for the next month. It says right here. John 3:16. And this is where you start. ‘For God so loved the world . . .’”
If that isn’t love – the ocean is dry; if that isn’t love – there’s no stars in the sky; if that isn’t love – the little sparrows can’t fly; if that isn’t love – then heaven’s a myth; there’s no feeling like this. If that isn’t love. And that is the love of Jesus – Who could say “Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do.” That is the love I pray for – to be able to love like that.