It was a moment packed with the power to melt a heart of stone, to startle even the most entrenched skeptics of Christianity. When 18-year-old Brandt Jean humbly asked the judge presiding over the murder trial of his own brother’s killer if he could “please give [the killer] a hug,” it even took the judge by surprise. Her hesitation prompted Jean to ask again, “Please?”
Judge Kemp agreed, and a nearly minute-long embrace, accompanied with sobs, tears, nods, and assurances, ensued.
It was a moment that did more preaching than 100 sermons on grace, a moment that reemphasized to us believers the meaning of Jesus’s admonition to forgive our brother seven times seventy, a moment that enticed those outside of Christ with a stirring example of what they’re missing.
Of course, something that profound necessarily prompted an emergency call-to-action for those most opposed to the propagation of the gospel of Jesus, those most invested in drawing attention to manmade idols they have erected for profit and power, and away from Christ.
Thus, it was altogether unsurprising to see the comical Freedom From Religion Foundation file a complaint with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct, alleging that Judge Kemp’s hug and gift of her personal Bible to the sentenced criminal was “unconstitutional.” The FFRF has a long and illustrious track record of beclowning itself publicly that they needed to maintain, after all.
But what was disappointing and even shocking was the degree to which the so-called “Woke Church,” that is the branch of Christianity willfully isolating and identifying itself by its primary focus on manmade political/social policy as a means of racial reconciliation, worked to undermine this miraculous moment in the courtroom.
Jemar Tisby, for example, took to the pages of the Washington Post to write a most disappointing and biblically unproductive article entitled, “White Christians, do not cheapen the hug and message of forgiveness from Botham Jean’s brother.” From his own Twitter feed, Tisby promoted one paragraph of the piece:
For Bible believers the phrase “black forgiveness” should immediately send up red flags. The ministry of Christ and His Apostles never included the language of “Galilean forgiveness,” “Judean forgiveness,” “Epgyptian forgiveness,” “Greek forgiveness,” or “Roman forgiveness.” It was never accompanied by bizarre stipulations that, “No one should assume that the Apostolic forgiveness of one Roman Centurion named Cornelius eclipses the demands for systemic change of the Roman treatment of Jews.”
What remains one of the most unflattering components of this new woke gospel is that it masquerades as a path towards reconciliation while continually offending Biblical instruction on the subject. Writing on the ministry of reconciliation himself, the Apostle Paul asserted, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.”
Woke gospel proponents habitually refuse to submit to that teaching, consistently and belligerently pointing out worldly demarcations in humanity, even when (as in this case) it undermines an incredible demonstration of Christlike forgiveness. That forgiveness, as beautifully exhibited by Brandt Jean, has absolutely no racial component. None. It is not melanin-contingent and should never be diminished by such pretense.
What played out in that courtroom was a demonstration to a confused world of the mysterious power of the Holy Spirit and His supernatural ability to liberate a human soul of otherwise justifiable rage, bitterness, and grievance. Through an imperfect human vessel, God was communicating His transformative power in our lives, and proving that the potency of the true Gospel dwarfs the false gospel of earthly grievance.
Maybe for the first time, countless people saw a clear depiction of the love of Jesus and what it can do. For Christians whose first priority is building the Kingdom of God by pointing all men to Christ as Lord, it was the perfect moment to champion and promote. Which raises a legitimate question: why were the prophets and priests of woke Christianity so quick to divert and distract from it?