"This man absolutely was with Jesus because he’s . . . a Galilean.”
Sometimes we’re wrong when we’re right.
As a group warmed themselves around a fire on a cold evening in Jerusalem, a servant girl recognized Peter as one of the followers of that man who had just been arrested and was under arraignment. Peter denied it, but another man concluded that Peter had to be a crony. Why? Because he had a Galilean accent.
The man’s prejudicial assumption was that anyone with a redneck Galilean accent must be a follower of that guy from Nazareth. Although he was right; he was wrong.
Sean Tuohy is a successful guy. At Ole Miss he was a basketball star – elected to the university’s Hall of Fame and still holding the SEC record for assists. The New Jersey Nets drafted him but he turned them down.
Sean now lives in Memphis where he, with his wife Leigh Anne, own over 85 franchise restaurants. Sean and Leigh Anne have co-authored a book. And, somehow, he also manages to find time to serve as a national broadcaster for the Memphis Grizzlies.
On a cold day near Thanksgiving, the Tuohy family drove past a black teen wearing only a T-shirt and shorts.
If you hold prejudices against blacks, this teen was capable of confirming them. He was shiftless and poor. His grade point average in school was 0.76, and his social skills were virtually non-existent.
The Tuohy’s, however, chose not to judge this young man, Michael, but to take him into their home. Gradually, they learned his story. He was one of 13 siblings – growing up in the poorest section of Memphis. He never knew his father, who was murdered while in prison. His mom was a crack addict, and so, from the age of seven, Michael fended for himself. He attended eleven schools in nine years and lived in foster homes, with friends, or wandered homeless.
No one ever told Michael, “I love you,” until he was eighteen years old.
The Tuohy’s legally adopted Michael and gave him the opportunity to thrive. He raised his GPA to 2.52. He went on to attend college and managed to make the honor roll twice while playing football for Ole Miss.
And Michael Oher was also chosen in the first round of the NFL draft to play offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens.
Michael, given the chance, has blossomed. But so have the Tuohy’s. Their Christian faith has changed their judgmentalism to compassion. Leigh Anne grew up in at atmosphere of racial bigotry, but now she cries for the less fortunate. And, as for her husband, Leigh Anne says she married a man who doesn’t even know what color he is.
When we judge, even when we’re right; we’re wrong. We do a better day’s work when we simply take the time to care.
(copyright 2013 by Marty Kaarre)