You’ve no doubt heard the story of the horrifying circumstances resulting in the death of Botham Jean, a little over a year ago in Dallas, Texas. The 26-year-old accountant was shot to death in his own apartment by off-duty police officer Amber Guyger, who mistakenly entered Jean’s apartment thinking it was her own. She drew her gun and shot the man she thought was a burglar.
The story took over the news cycle and resurfaced again over the last few days as Guyger was on trial. She was found guilty of murder.
Yesterday, this video broke of Jean’s brother addressing Amber Guyger. . .
I was reminded not only of Jesus and his command to forgive seventy-times-seven, but of some words I read earlier this week in Os Guinness’s new book, Carpe Diem Redeemed. Guinness, a spot-on-cultural-analyst who I respect highly for his insights and accuracy, was addressing our current culture of victim-playing and how that manifests itself in today’s culture while undermining human flourishing.
Here are some words to ponder from Guinness. . . .
“Those who perceive themselves as victims and respond by portraying themselves as victims end up paralyzing themselves as victims. The reason is that in seeking to use the past as an instrument of power, victims remain prisoners of their past and never become free. They become prisoners of their own resentment. . . In responding to the wrong with hate, the victim turned hater only compounds and perpetuates the problem. Hate spreads the malice (evil afterthought) so that it comes to infect both sides, not just the perpetrator’s, and the victims become doubly victims – victimized first by the evil done to them and second by the hate to which they are now a prisoner. . . . Jesus called his followers to ‘Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you.’ Freed by God, his followers were called to build a community of free people. They therefore needed to be free from all hate, for hatred poisons society and holds the hater captive as mercilessly as any ancient Pharaoh, Southern overseer, modern tyrant, or sexual predator. . . . Justice pursued with hate leads only to more evil and even greater injustice.”
As I have watched that video over and over and again, there’s one thought that keeps running through my mind. . . “That’s the way things are supposed to be.”