Sympathy means to suffer together – What I learned from the movie 42



Before I left for Germany I had the privilege of seeing “42.” It is probably one of the best movies I have seen in a long time, not just because the acting was well done. I really enjoyed the movie because of the story. Because of Jackie Robinson, because of Branch Rickey, that is why the movie was so good. Both of these men were strong Christians who believed in the equality of all. While at first Branch Rickey made it sound like his decision to bring in Jackie Robinson was purely a business move, later in the movie he explains to Jackie that he wanted to make a difference in the sport he loved. An actual quote I found of Rickey said:

“Ethnic prejudice has no place in sports, and baseball must recognize that truth if it is to maintain stature as a national game.”

There were a couple lines in the movie that I wanted to briefly talk about.

At one point in the movie Branch tells Jackie that to truly have sympathy means you suffer going back to the original Greek word from where we get sympathy. Isn’t that far different than what we normally think about when we hear the word sympathy. We hear to have sorrow for someone else’s misfortune, but do you truly suffer with them? When someone loses a loved one, do you feel as if you have too? When someone gets sick, are you sick too? When you see the commercials of starving children, do you get filled with the desire to make the suffering end? That is true sympathy and we should be more sympathetic in our daily lives.

My other favorite moment of the movie was when Jackie and his wife are both struggling with all of the events surrounding them…the hate, the threats, the words and every other terrible thing that people were doing to this young couple. Jackie’s wife, Rachel, says to her husband “If they knew you, they would be ashamed.” I know I am ashamed at some of the thoughts that pop in my head about some of the people I see throughout my day. Do you do the same? Some of the time I am sure that our thoughts are correct, but how often? I doubt it is nearly as often as we would like to imagine. The person we think is scum of the Earth might just be the salt of the Earth. We can’t know anything if we generalize, we must get to know someone.

I hope you go see this movie, but more than that I hope we begin to truly sympathize with those hurting around us and that we will see people for who they are and not who we think they are.

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