The Amber Guyger conviction has been a topic of conversation since she was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Also a part of the conversation is Botham Jean’s family’s displays of forgiveness. His younger brother even went as far as to hug her. A number of people applauded his decision as a huge display of Christ’s forgiveness, but others are more critical.
Pastor Freddie Haynes says that his sermon yesterday was about forgiveness and what it is and isn’t. While he says he “will not judge” the Jean family’s healing process or how they choose to do so, he believes that there is a difference between forgiveness and seeking acceptance.
The city of Dallas is “in the thick of things” right now and one of the things he calls “bothersome” is the “misrepresentation” of forgiveness. He believes that, “Black people are not forgiving so much as we are accepting” what has happened to us. He explains that we do this because historically so many Black people have been “so thirsty to be accepted in a country that always rejected us.” So, “in the name of forgiveness” he says we end up accepting “at the expense of our healing.”
“Even Jesus on the cross” turned forgiveness over to God. Jesus said, “Father you forgive them because they don’t know what they’re doing,” so if you are not ready to forgive it is okay to turn it over to God while you “work through the process.”
He quotes Desmond Tutu and says “forgiveness is not quick” “we often misrepresent forgiveness in the name of Jesus to assuage the feelings of white people” so that we can be validated.
Haynes wants to make it clear that Black people do not need validation from white folks. “When God made you God said that’s good and he did not consult white people in the process,” he says.