Last night, I saw the movie "42." It was excellent on so many levels, but mostly because it told the story of the faith and courage of two great men , Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Jackie Robinson's story is well known in history, the first black man to play in major league baseball. His number "42" is retired on every team in baseball. Not because he had the courage to fight, but because he had the courage not to. He endured humiliation and persecution and he did not speak up against his accusers. He modeled the behavior of our Savior.
Branch Rickey's story was as powerful as Robinson's. The team's general manager was intentional in his search for a black player to integrate his team. When Jackie asked him why, Rickey told the story of a time when he was a young player and didn't stand up for a black man. As a man of deep faith, it bothered him all his life. He was finally in a position to right a wrong he had committed.
2000 years ago, another young man persecuted followers of Jesus Christ. Paul went from town to town looking for Christians to jail and kill. On one road to Damascus, he encountered Jesus Himself. Paul's life was transformed and he spent the rest of his life fighting FOR Christianity instead of against it.
Two years ago, a high school friend found me. We had a falling out in our senior year. She seriously hurt me and we stopped talking. I can't remember what she did, only that I never wanted to see her again. Years later, she searched for and found me on facebook. We began to correspond and then reunited when she made a trip back to NJ. The first thing she wanted to do was right the wrong she had committed and asked for forgiveness. We're now close friends and because she was so good at keeping in touch with people, I've had the joy of reconnecting with several of my long lost friends. Most importantly, we've discovered we're both believers now which doubled our joy.
It's never too late to right a wrong we have committed. In righting his wrong, Branch Rickey changed history, and not just in baseball. He was a catalyst for the entire civil rights movement.
We can change our history. If we have offended someone, we must do what we can do to make things right. Paul says in his letter to the Romans:
"If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God,….Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." Rom. 12:18-20
"So far as it depends on you" - we must do what we can, but only what we can. Don't fret about what others do or how they respond. They are responsible for their actions as we are responsible for ours.
Do you have a relationship in need of repair or a wrong that needs to be addressed? I encourage you to pray and seek what God would have you do to restore peace with all - men, women, and children.
And please leave a comment with how I can pray for you.