“Be Ye Doers of the word, and not hearers only …”
I once came across this beautiful story that touched my heart so strongly it drove me to look into myself, make an honest evaluation of my person, which ultimately propelled me to change for the better.
I’m still a work-in-progress, but I can honestly say I am a better person today than I was before I read this story.
So I am sharing it with you in the hope that this too, will make an impact in your lives, and make you better persons than you already are.
The Long Embrace
By Randal A. Wright
A few years ago, I attended a high school basketball game between two powerhouse teams vying for the championship of an important tournament. Lincoln High had garnered five Texas State Championships in the 1980s and was ranked as the number 1 team in the state on this occasion. The opponent was Beaumont West Brook, led by Lukie Jackson, son of former Olympic and NBA All-Star Luke Jackson. Both teams gave it everything they had. West Brook held the lead from the beginning of the game, thanks to the 27 points accumulated by Lukie Jackson. Then, with just a few seconds left in regulation play, Lincoln tied the score, and the game went into overtime. The West Brook Team was able to gain a one-point advantage over the opponents. It appeared they would hold the lead to win the game – a great upset. However, with less than 30 seconds to go, a Lincoln player drove to the basket and was fouled by Lukie. He made both free throws, and Lincoln won the game by one point. Lukie was visibly upset. To have played so hard, scored so many points, but then commit a foul that cost his team the game against the defending state championship was devastating.
I wondered what his Dad was thinking. Would he yell at his boy for making a mistake that cost them the game? Then I turned around to see a huge man coming down the aisle toward the dejected player. It was Lukie’s father. Surely, Lukie would get a tongue lashing than many sons would receive in similar situations when the father was embarrassed by his son’s actions. But when they met, Luke Jackson threw his arms around his son and, in front of thousands of people, held him tightly, patted him on the back, and quietly talked to him. I watched this touching scene, wondering what I would have done had he been my son. When the long embrace ended, Lukie’s countenance had changed. He looked like his team just won the state championship. He was smiling and happy as he went over to congratulate the winning team.
Our Actions Determine Our Character
“In today’s fast-paced world there seems to be a greater tendency for people to act aggressively toward each other. Some are quick to take offense and respond angrily to real or imagined affronts, and we’ve all experienced or heard reports of road rage or other examples of rude, insensitive behavior.
“Unfortunately, some of this spills over into our homes, creating friction and tension among family members.
“It may seem natural to react to a situation by giving back what is given to us. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Reflecting on his horrendous wartime experiences, Viktor Frankl recalled:
‘We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread.
They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way’ (Man’s Search for Meaning , 86).”
In his book Standing for Something, Gordon B. Hinckley admonished all people to cultivate optimism in the face of cynicism (pessimism, sarcasm, suspicion, disparagement, skepticism, distrust, doubt, and scorn).
He said:”My plea is we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life, we accentuate the positive. I am suggesting that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment and endorse virtue and effort.”
We have been taught by the prophets of old and new, and by Jesus Christ Himself, to be kinder one with another. He had this in mind when He gave the commandment for us to “love our neighbors as ourselves …”
I believe with all my heart that people achieve and accomplish more under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.
May we all look at the good in others.
May we be generous in giving sincere praises and compliments and words of encouragement.
May we be the vessels that encourage and inspire.
May we all strive to be better than we were yesterday and may people see Christ in us through our words and deeds.