I had been told for months by numerous friends and family that I needed to see this movie. I figured it was probably because I love baseball movies, and this particular baseball movie had some major elements of faith woven through it, two of my favorite things in the same movie, who wouldn’t suggest it to me.
For some reason though, I never got around to watching it until now, and as I should have already expected, I watched it at the exact right time.
Now I would never try to compare the type of persecutions that Jackie Robinson, and many other African Americans went through during and previous to the civil rights era. That would be flat out stupid. Recently though, having a video go viral on YouTube, I have begun to taste a little bit of what it’s like to have people against you. To have people say things not just about what you’re doing, but about you personally, to have people wanting you to fail on a global stage.
Now the claims of religious blasphemy and comments about how far apart my eyes are sound like fluffy marshmallows in the face of the death threats and racial slurs that surrounded Jackie Robinson everyday. I have to imagine that the temptation we struggle with in the face of persecution is the same. When I see a negative comment, or when someone says something just flat out nasty about me as a person, I want so badly to enter into that argument, to shove it back in their face, to make them pay for it., but Jackie Robinson, Harrison Ford, and Jesus reminded me of a different way.
In the beginning of the film, Harrison Ford’s character, Branch Ricky, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers is questioning Jackie to see if he’s willing to undergo all the hatred that will indefinitely come his way. After going through several graphic examples, Jackie stands up and says, “You want a player who doesn’t have the guts to fight back?”
Harrison Ford stares for a moment and then speaks to my soul, “No,” he says, “I want a player who has the guts not to fight back.”
When dealing with criticism, as elementary as it sounds, it truly is better to turn the other cheek. In fact, it takes more courage to not fight back, to allow the insult, the hate, the criticism to pass through your ears, trying your best not to let it get into your brain, which is a direct pathway to the heart.
So sticks and stones may break my bones, but words…they definitely can hurt too. Words are just like a punch in the face, but the stronger man is willing to offer the other cheek, and to spill his blood for the cause.
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