The sight of seeing the brother of the man who was killed in his own apartment by the police officer, have enough Christ in him to hug the officer at the end of the trial, is one of those things that we can witness in a lifetime that makes one proud to be a part of the human race. The behavior of the officer may make one ashamed to be a part of the human race, but it does not reduce the living brother’s act. Most all of my children were saying, “Oh, I do not know if I could do that.” One of them asked the age-old question of “Why are we as black people are expected to take the high road and all other races are given free tickets to roam around doing whatever they desire with little or no consequences?” I am still working on of my daughters, but most of the others are able to see the Christ in this young man who gave the hug. I told her that we take the high road because that is who we are or who we are ascribing to become. Some of us are farther along in this Christian walk than others. It is a progressive walk. I think it is called progressive sanctification. The level of maturity in Christ does not reach us all at the same time. It matters not how long one has been in church or out of the church. The inability to forgive is a sin because it separates us from Christ. It causes the precious part of us to slowly die. The soul dies a slow death and becomes dark as it prepares to go to a dark place.

I reached out to my youngest son and asked for his response, and he said, ”Mom, I had a hard time sleeping last night and after serious prayer, I reached a place of peace and was then able to sleep. I will send you what my position is on the matter of Botham Jean’s brother hugging his killer who had just tweeted racial slurs minutes before entering Botham’s apartment and shooting him to death.” This is what Stephen shared with me.

“For all the Christian believers talking bad about this brother, y’all need to check yourselves. You can’t measure the forgiveness in this young man’s heart by the feelings in your own. Yes, you can say that the Justice System may be clearly unfair, but you can’t degrade him for what he values. And if forgiveness is what he values, then we should be celebrating his witness of Christ to the world. Never forget, what you see in this picture is what Jesus does to our sinful souls everyday. He made a decision that can only be understood by believers because we understand grace. You have every right to say that there is a problem with the unfair sentencing of people of color in this country, because systemic racism is real. However, be careful what you say about this brother as a witness of Christian love and forgiveness. Christian love has always confused worldly people. You ask, ‘How can he do this,’ and ‘Why would he do this?’ Well, apparently, he knows somebody that you may not know! And he has every right to express what he knows about Jesus to the world. Maybe instead of dragging him, we as believers should be lifting him up and celebrating the witness.”

So those of us who will sit in church this Sunday and many Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays listening to the preacher deliver the Word, we should ask ourselves if we can lift the brother up as well as the officer who did the killing. If your answer is still “No,” keep going all of those evenings or nights and add another night if necessary, until your answer is “Yes, Lord, I can give others what you give me everyday.” Remember the Christian journey is one of progression. We grow closer to him daily, and we should be making an attempt to be more like him everyday. To acquire the attributes of Christ does not take place through osmosis. We must intentionally open our mind, soul and heart for his spirit to enter. Let us remember what my son Stephen said in the above quote, and I feel very proud to call him my son. He said, “Christian love has always confused worldly people. You ask, ‘How can he do this,’ and ‘Why would he do this?’ Well apparently he knows somebody that you may not know!”

His words could not have blessed me more. Moms have sons to bless them and to make them proud.

Willie Mae Samuel is a playwright and a director in Rome. She is the founder and director of the African American Connection of the Performing Arts Inc.

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