Jackie Robinson was the first Black athlete to play major league baseball. Robinson had to face jeering fans in every stadium he played in because of the color of his skin.
I remember when I was in grammar school and I went with my dad and brothers to Wrigley Field in Chicago to watch the Cubs play the Brooklyn Dodgers. I vividly remember the chorus of hateful voices that shouted profanities at Jackie Robinson. I can still remember the anger on so many faces all around me every time Jackie came up to bat. The language was foul, especially for the 1950’s.
Sometimes today I really wonder if we are going back to the days of Jackie Robinson with the racism that is going on in our country that is no longer hidden.
Robinson was certainly held to a higher standard of play than the other white players. One day in Brooklyn he committed an error at second base. The fans began to ridicule him mercilessly. He stood there humiliated while almost all of the fans roared their profanity and their boos.
Then something wonderful happened. Pee Wee Reese, the shortstop came over and stood next to Jackie. He put his arm around Jackie and stood there with him together facing the hostile crowd. Jackie was no longer alone and the fans eventually quieted down.
Later in life, Jackie Robinson said that this act of Pee Wee Reese coming and standing with him saved his career and it gave him the strength to go on with his life.
This is what it means to be a follower of Jesus. We are called to come alongside people, people we know and people we don’t know, people we like and people we don’t necessarily like.
Jesus didn’t say, “Follow Christians,” Jesus said, “Follow me!”.
Always pray to have eyes that see the best in people, a heart that forgives the worst, a mind that forgets the bad and a soul that never loses faith in God.
When was there a time when YOU stood up for or came alongside and helped a person who was being ridiculed?
JESUS, HELP ME TO LOVE OTHER PEOPLE THE WAY YOU LOVE OTHER PEOPLE!