“It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel” (Proverbs 20:3). I don’t think the players and fans in the basketball fiasco several years ago knew about that scripture do you? I’m not really a sports fan, but it was hard to miss the heavy news coverage over the fan who threw beer down on the court during a game and the players who charged the stands in retaliation. Disgraceful, disgusting, revolting – these are some of the words the sports pundits are using to describe the event.
In contrast, over the same weekend I saw an old movie that showed another way. I was finishing a sewing project so I turned on a classic movie channel to keep me company while I quilted away for several hours. It so happened that “To Kill a Mockingbird” was on and I had not seen it for many years. One particular moment really struck me.
Atticus Finch, an attorney with deep integrity is a hero of the story. In this scene, an evil, ignorant and racist man spits on his face. You hold your breath when it happens. You can see the anger fighting with control on the face of Gregory Peck, who plays Atticus. He has every right to respond in kind and he almost does. But then, control and honor win out and he walks away. Not in weakness but in great strength.
I’d like to set the basketball players and the fans down to watch “To Kill a Mockingbird.” We need to return to the place where we value and honor those who avoid strife. If those who rush to fight saw themselves as fools as the scripture states, would they be so quick to quarrel?