Forgiving a Killer

An amazing thing occurred at the sentencing for former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger yesterday: the brother of the man she shot forgave her. Ms. Guyger was convicted of murder after she shot and killed Botham Jean in his apartment, mistakenly thinking he was an intruder in her apartment. During the sentencing hearing, the victim’s brother Brandt Jean, age 18, said to her from the witness stand, “If you are truly sorry, I know I can speak for myself, I forgive you.”

In his victim-impact statement, Mr. Jean said that he wished that Ms. Guyger didn’t have to serve any time at all. Instead, he wanted for Guyger what his older brother would have wanted: “I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want for you. I love you as a person and don’t wish anything bad on you.”

Then he asked if he could give Guyger a hug. As soon as the judge gave permission, the two embraced for a long time.

But there was more. After the jury exited, Judge Tammy Kemp walked over to the defense table, and handed Guyger a Bible, encouraging her to read it. Guyger impulsively reached out to hug the judge, and the judge reciprocated. The judge could be heard telling her, “It’s not because I’m good. It’s because I believe in Christ. None of us are worthy.”

God is still present in our courtrooms.

Endorsing Apologies in Mediation

This article notes the risks of apologies but also that they can be handled deftly in mediation. It’s well worth a read.

Exemplary Apologies?

Sometimes it’s a relief to imagine apologies carried too far. Check this out for some light-hearted humor around apologies:





A Bid to Mediate Church Conflicts

A very good article about mediating church conflicts was recently posted on, “Referring Church Conflicts to Mediation.” The author, Wayne Plenert, uses the passage in Paul’s letter to the Philippians about the conflict between Euodia and Synteche to argue that there is a biblical basis for mediating church conflicts. In that passage (Philippians 4:2-3), Paul pleads with someone to help Euodia and Synteche resolve their conflict, noting that both of these women have labored with Paul in sharing the gospel. It’s the best example in the Christian Scriptures of mediation as an appropriate method for resolving conflicts. Mr. Plemert extracts some guiding principles for church leaders in addressing internal conflicts, providing a useful tool for any church member in a conflict with another (which is just about all of us, at some point or another!).

One-Man ADR

There are Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes, and then there’s Ken Feinberg. Mr. Feinberg has become a one-man process unto himself, a unique blend of mediation and arbitration, completely outside the judicial system. Michael Lewis, in his podcast series “Against the Rules,” interviews Mr. Feinberg and delves into aspects of his power and authority, in episode 5, “The Neutral,” released a couple weeks ago. It’s worth a listen, for anyone who is a mediator or arbitrator, or for anyone who hires such. Mr. Feinberg has privately settled financial disputes associated with just about all the recent disasters in the U.S., from the 9/11 families to the Boston Marathon bombings to Catholic Church priest abuse cases in New York to the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings this past fall. His approach raises all kinds of questions for purists, but the bottom line is, it works.


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