There was a scene from the movie, “42” about Jackie Robinson that particularly stuck in my mind. The opposing coach was taunting Jackie as he came up to bat. His racist remarks were vicious. Frustrated, Jackie swung the bat poorly, hit a fly ball and was easily put out. All the way back to the dugout, the taunting words of the opposing manager followed him. “You’ll never make it. Your kind never will.”
Jackie went through the dugout to a tunnel and began to beat his bat against the wall: screaming in pain and agony. The owner of the team appeared as Jackie repeated over and over, “How much more can I take?”
The owner replied, “If you go out and retaliate, the only thing the papers will report is that you fell apart. You couldn’t take the pressure.”
Jackie asked, “What am I supposed to do?”
The owner said, “Get a hit, steal a base, score a run. Do your job and you will prove him and all of your detractors wrong. You need to do what you do.”
Somehow, Jackie found the courage to go back out there. He would make a hit, steal a base and score a run and he continued to do it throughout the season. Today, Jackie Robinson is honored as one of the greatest baseball players who ever played. The number 42 is the only number retired from every team in Major League Baseball except for one day each year when every player wears the number 42 as a tribute to this remarkable man.
Jackie Robinson displayed incredible courage in the face of persecution.
As Christians, as leaders, if we take our faith seriously, we will occasionally face persecution. We could be teased, taunted and challenged in many ways. Our temptation is to strike back, get angry or get even.
Yet Jesus says, “When someone hits you on one cheek, offer the other.”
Striking back seems brave and courageous but others will say that “you” fell apart. You couldn’t take the pressure.
So what do you do?
Do your job and do it well. Keep a smile on your face and keep doing what God would have you do. That is the only way to eventually prove your detractors wrong.
Later on, the same owner told Jackie: “I was watching a little league game and I saw several of the boys rubbing their hands in the dirt and practicing their swing, the exact same way they saw Jackie Robinson do it. The owner said, “Think about it Jackie, those white children were imitating you. You are their hero.”
As for the opposing manager who taunted and tried to humiliate Jackie Robinson? According to the move credits, after the season ended, he was fired and never managed a major league team again.
Persecution, taunting and outright meanness happens and will very likely happen to you. How will you respond? Will you have the courage to do what is right, regardless of the consequences? Can you do your job and do it well? Can you keep a smile on your face? Can you turn the other cheek?
“Stay on the high road with Me. Many voices clamor for your attention, trying to divert you to another path. But I have called you to walk ever so closely with Me, soaking in My Presence living in My Pace. This is My unique design for you, planned before the world began. I have called you to another way. What I require of you is to act justly, to have mercy and t walk humbly with Me – wherever I lead.” (Jesus Calling)
For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared n advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what dos the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love merccy and to walk humbly with your God. — Micah 6:8