Learning to forgive is much more useful than merely picking up a stone and throwing it at the object of one’s anger, the more so when the provocation is extreme. For it is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others. ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
You’ve probably heard about Amber Guyger, the Dallas, Texas police officer who shot and killed Botham Jean, an unarmed black man. The officer is white.
That happened on September 6, 2018. On October 1, 2019, a jury sentenced the officer to 10 years in prison. Nothing extraordinary there. But what happened after the sentencing in the courtroom that day was extraordinary.
Brandt Jean, the brother of Botham Jean, said this to Amber Guyger:
“I love you just like anyone else. I’m not going to say I hope you rot and die just like my brother did. But I personally want the best for you because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want…”
Then, in what may be unprecedented in US courtroom history, the young man asked Judge Tammy Kemp if he could hug the police officer. The judge allowed it.
- Probably the most important words we can offer today are these:
You do not need forgiveness if you have not judged another (or yourself) to begin with. Then there’s nothing to forgive. It’s that simple.
- The key to learning non-judgement is to see yourself and others as God does, with compassion and love. Know everyone is doing the best they can. Though we realize that statement is, in itself, likely to provoke judgement in some.
- You may not see forgiveness and world peace as closely linked. But you cannot have one without the other.
- Exactly the same dynamic happens between individuals and between nations. The result is what you often see playing out on the world stage today.
- If you take one small step each day to create more peace within yourselves, you would be making a huge contribution to world peace.
- Every thought, every spoken word—whether of judgement or condemnation, or of forgiveness and love, ripples out to all that is. You, standing alone, can contribute more to world peace than you probably ever knew.
- Forgiving is not condoning or excusing the cruelty of others.
- But as that saying you have goes, hatred is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die. That’s about as much sense as hatred makes. You are harming no one but yourself.
- Forgiveness and love are choices you can easily make to free yourself from the past and its pain. Then you can move into the present moment. Then you will find the joy and peace that live only now.
- Forgiveness and love should not only be an occasional practice. They should be your way of life.
This video speaks for itself.
Copyright © 2019 by John Cali
Edited by Berna Copray
If you had been in Brandt Jean’s place, could you have forgiven Amber Guyger as he did?
Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
P.S. Many folks have trouble forgiving, even if the trouble started long ago. A helpful resource is The Stanford Forgiveness Project. If you need help, check them out.
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