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Jackie’s Life

In the movie 42, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) is a Major League team executive with a bold idea. Rickey recruits Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman), an African-American baseball player playing in the Negro League, to break the unspoken color line and become the first modern African American Major League player. As both anticipate, this becomes a major challenge for Robinson and his family as they endure unrelenting racism on and off the field, from player and fan alike. As Jackie struggles against his nature to deal with the abuse, he finds an ally in Ricky, who is also a Christian.

On their first meeting, Robinson asks Rickey, “You want a player that doesn’t have the guts to fight back?”

“No. No.” replies Rickey. “I want a player who has the guts not to fight back. People aren’t going to like this. They’re going to do anything to get you to react. Follow a curse with a curse and they’ll hear only yours. Follow a blow with a blow and they’ll say the Negro lost his temper; that the Negro does not belong. Your enemy will be out in force and you cannot meet him on his own low ground. We win with hitting, running, fielding — only that. We win only if the world is convinced of two things: That you are a fine gentleman, and a great ball player. Like our Savior, you’re got to have the guts to turn the other cheek. Can you do it?”*

“To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer also the other; and from him who takes away your cloak, don’t withhold your coat also” (Luke 9:29, WEB).

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1, NASB).

It seems that much of society’s view of dealing with conflict is quite different from the response to relational struggle that Jesus spelled out in the scriptures.

Radical? Undoubtedly. Effective? Jackie Robinson’s career testifies to it.

Is it possible that we could learn something from this amazing baseball player who chose to follow the words of the One that he claimed to follow?  It’s well worth our consideration!

Michael Temple writes from North Dakota.

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About Michael Temple

Michael Temple

writes from Grand Forks, North Dakota.

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