Grace is an amazing thing. So undeserved and yet extended to all of us who have fallen under the weight of our choices and sin. Oftentimes, we drop our heads questioning ourselves asking, How in the world did I get here?
This story I am about to share is a beautiful picture of grace and forgiveness.
This Story is True
There was a news story about a year ago about a police officer and a young black man. The watching world felt the grief and heartbrokenness of a Mother whose 29 yr old son Botham Jean was shot and killed in His own apartment while watching television and eating a bowl of ice cream.
This all happened in Dallas, Texas. A police officer had just gotten off duty from pulling a 12-hour shift and was headed home to her apartment. When she arrived she went to what she thought was her apartment while texting her partner, whom she had been having an affair with.
Distracted and tired, she went up to what she thought was her apartment door. It was open and unlocked. She went in and saw the young black man sitting on the couch.
She pulled her weapon out thinking He was an intruder and intentionally shot to kill the young man like she had been trained.
To her shock, she realized it wasn’t her apartment after she had shot him. She called the police and they came, but unfortunately, after performing CPR they couldn’t revive the young man and He died.
The trial began and over and over again they brought out embarrassing text messages and other things that would incriminate her and paint an evil picture of this woman.
Clearly, she knew she was wrong and with a jury of her peers after 7 hours of deliberation, they found her guilty of murder and she was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
She stated she wished she was dead instead of the victim. Overcome with grief she stated how sorry she was.
This is when everything turns. The victim’s family has a chance to address the guilty party. The younger brother of Botham takes the stand. Naturally, you think He might spew hatred or venom towards a police officer who killed his brother but this isn’t what happened.
With all eyes on the brother, this is what He said:
I know you know what we all have lost.
We have all done things in the past we needed forgiveness for. If you are sorry and go to God, I know He will forgive you.
I know Botham would want that for you.
Now, I’m speaking for myself, I love you just like anyone else. I am not gonna say I want you to rot and die, I personally want the best for you.
I wasn’t going to say this in front of anyone but I don’t even want you to have to go to jail. I know Botham would want you to give your life to Christ. I don’t wish anything bad on you.
He then turns to the Judge and says, I don’t know if this is possible but He asks to give her a hug. The judge grants his requests and as He steps towards Amber Guygere she almost runs to hug him.
So Much Grace
So much grace extended to someone who could never earn it or beg for it. It was freely given. She didn’t deserve it, none of us do.
This picture of forgiveness continues to be extended as the presiding Judge over the case steps down after Amber’s sentencing and brings her personal bible to Amber.
She states that she only needs a small seed of faith. She then took her to John 3:16 as she flips through the bible to show Amber.
The judge hugs Amber. She still has to serve her sentence but now she has been handed the key to life. Forgiveness.
God will leave the 99 to go after the 1, and when He finds the one He will put it on His shoulders and carry it home.
Botham did not die in vain. His life was gone way too soon but His legacy would live on through the grace demonstrated to His offender.
She would have the opportunity to choose life through forgiveness.
What about you? Are you living in the regret of things you wish you could undo? Stones you wish you could un-throw.
Guilt is a heavy load to carry. The heaviest weight of all is guilt and condemnation from the weight of sin. God doesn’t intend for us to carry it, so He took our place and the weight of all of humanity’s sin.
The substitute for all of our sin, shame, regret was placed upon Him. This royal blood stripped every bit of our penalty away. His life exchanged for our sin.
He paid the price to set us free from the penalty of our choices.
Only those finding themselves spiritually and morally bankrupt will see their need for this kind of extravagant exchange. This is agape love. Only to be received by grace through faith to an undeserving person smothered in love and mercy by a good God.
He is so good that it surpasses all knowledge and comprehension. When this kind of love wrecks your life, you become estranged to your former way of life.
That you are a new creature in Christ, Old things have passed away behold He makes all things new.2 Corinthians 5:17
All things new. Not some things. For anyone coming to Him, He will not deny. He brings life to those who deserve death.
This kind of extravagant love can only be found at the cross. At the foot of the cross. Bowed before the King of Kings. The humbled heart is lifted up, drawn close as He whispers, You are forgiven, child.
If You need to come to Jesus today, say this prayer with me.
Lord, I need you. I want to be with you forever. I believe you died for me and was raised up on the third day. I surrender my life to you. Make yourself known to me that I may live the rest of my days for you. Thank you for saving me, Lord.
When you draw near to God, He draws near to you.
If you prayed that prayer, drop me a note or a comment that you did! I believe He has great things ahead. May His love be revealed more and more to you. Find a good church that will help you grow spiritually. This is the best decision of your life.