Welcome to the website of the Anaheim Seventh-day Adventist Church. If you are looking for a place to worship, we would be honored to have you join us. We are very close to Disneyland and the surrounding hotels.
We are located at 900 Sunkist St., Anaheim, CA 92806. Our main worship service is on Saturdays at 11:00 AM. We also offer Sabbath School classes for all ages beginning at 9:30 AM. In addition, we offer a Spanish speaking Sabbath School and Devotional service that begins at 9:00 AM. You can go here to see recent bulletins from our worship services.
Our office hours are Tuesday – Thursday, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. For more information, you may contact us via phone at 714.635.0990, or via email at email@example.com.
Please visit ADRA.org
You may have heard in the news last week (though it was in large part overshadowed by news of congress’ impeachment inquiry) about the convicting and sentencing of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyer, who tragically killed Botham Jean in his own apartment after confusing his apartment for hers. Amber was clearly guilty, but remorseful for the accident and her actions that fateful night about a year ago. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison, a fate deemed too minimal to some.
But a key moment in the sentencing phase that caught my eye was when Botham’s brother, Brant, said from the witness box: “I forgive you, and I know if you go to God and ask Him, He will forgive you… and I love you just like anyone else… and I personally want the best for you. I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you… and the best would be to give your life to Christ… (turning to the judge, he said:) I don’t know if this is possible, but, can I give her a hug, please?” The resulting image above is from about a minute-long hug, accompanied with sobs and tears. I found it to be a profound moment of love and forgiveness that brought tears to my eyes multiple times, even again as I review it this morning. Some news sources called it “the hug seen ’round the world”. I think that such forgiveness in the heart of senseless tragedy is right at the heart of God’s character.
Yet, some are not so happy. Many believe the sentence was too light, that the hugs from the brother and later the judge in the case were inappropriate, and that Amber Guyer does not deserve any forgiveness. A mistake and an impulse overreaction on her part ended the life of another, and devastated a family permanently. Outrage, particularly when considered in the light of race relations and our criminal justice system, is understandable in this case.
“Why are they treating her as the victim?!” “What if the situation were reversed, and a black male cop had killed a white woman in the same way?! He would hang!” These are some of the arguments out there. I posted a brief version of my thoughts on the beauty of this forgiveness on Facebook last week, and got heated responses from friends and acquaintances. I felt bad at perhaps looking at it too simplistically, and wished I hadn’t posted about it at all.
‘But wait’, I then thought: ‘though it is controversial, though it is emotionally charged and filled with land-mines, should we not hold this up as a case of exemplary forgiveness?’ Though the situation is terrible, will any amount of outrage reverse it? Will any course of action bring back Botham Jean or console his family at this point?
Responding to violence and injustice of this type with outrage is understandable, but it is human. To forgive, particularly for a man who will miss his older brother every day for the rest of his life, is God-inspired! Brant Jean is putting Jesus’ very hard teaching, quoted above, about forgiving, praying for, and loving persecutors, into action! And yes it’s controversial. And it was controversial in Jesus’ day, too. Jesus’ message continues to shock and seem backwards when people see it lived out.
At his trial and crucifixion, Jesus was the most innocent, and therefore most victimized victim of all, yet he didn’t respond with cursings or lightning bolts (as he could have). He responded with prayers! “Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). Given this example, what situation can we find ourselves in in which we are justified before God in not forgiving? None of us will face what He faced! Yet He forgave. Yes, we should be upset at injustice! But after the fact, to withhold forgiveness helps nothing except perhaps satisfy our rage, which God would prefer we give it up.
I know I’m not solving any of the debate here: those outraged will continue to be outraged. But for those who want compassion to lead in their lives, I believe this is one example that should be held-up and recognized as a model one for us. God, grant me the ability to forgive like this! is my prayer.
I will pray for all members of the family going forward: the forgiving ones, and the bitter ones. I will pray for Amber as well, who is apparently reading the Bible as she is being held (another controversial thing is that the judge hugged her and, when asked by Amber for a Bible, offered to get her one). I pray that God will fill her jail cell with light from heaven, and that she will find freedom in her soul in God’s love & forgiveness.
Botham Jean was a Christian, and in all likelihood will be in heaven when we get there. If Amber becomes a Christian, she can be there too! And we may just get to see victim and (accidental) victimizer share a similar embrace of forgiveness. I would love to see that for myself, and hope to someday.
May God bless you all the remaider of your week.
Pastor Mark Tatum
Video clip of the moment:
Judge’s explanation of hug & offer for Bible: