Friday, August 19, 2011

Us Versus Them, and the Legacy We Leave Behind

What do you think when you see
inmate work-crews on the side of the road?
Do you mumble to yourself how you hope they all die?
Or to yourself say how you hope they are never released?
Maybe you angrily yell from your car window
of your hope that they all burn in hell for eternity?

In any case, we have given ourselves the freedom
to condemn “them”, and justify our anger
as a kind of target for our own lives’ frustrations.

But is this how we want to be remembered?

To reinforce the point, I put forth Michael Vick,
the professional Quarterback in the NFL
who went to prison and has now returned to play again.
Many people think he doesn’t deserve a second chance.
The article in Sports Illustrated from earlier this year:
link here- Is It OK To Cheer For Michael Vick?
makes clear there is still a divide in America.
His bloody dog kennels are now infamous,
as is his attempts to downplay the part he played.
But after serving his time in prison,
asking for help from a reliable mentor - Tony Dungy,
award winning professional Football coach
with a heart for God. (more about them Here)
do we hope Mike can change and succeed?

Are we loving others, forgiving, and showing mercy
to those who need it most?
Those broken men and women who struggle
to know freedom from crime, sins, addictions,
and from the pain of isolation in a society that hates.

When my wife and I recently drove by an inmate work-crew
I said aloud, “there goes my people”. To which she replied,
“Why are they ‘your people’? Why no the rest of us??”
I smiled and responded,
“We all need to know God more, these more than most,
and they are my people because
few others will think of or pray for them.”
Afterwards, I prayed aloud,
that ‘they’ all come to know Jesus,
and the freedom that only He can bring,
that He protect them and watch over them,
and that they come to find peace through Christ.
My wife finished with an emphatic, “Amen”.

This is the legacy I want to leave for my daughter
a future of hope and love for all God’s children.

Because it is more important than hanging on to the hurt
and condemning others for the past pain we still feel,
which we wrongly perceive
gives us the “right” to go on hating “them”.

I pray for you too, Michael Vick;
that you learn to become the man God intended,
that you have a successful return to the NFL,
and that you go far beyond to lead other men
who may be struggling to know Christ,
to know freedom,
and to know life & love in Him.


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