Vision New England Blog

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The general blog of Vision New England dedicated to equipping and encouraging New England Christ followers to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly and make disciples.


Monty Williams and Mercy

 

As Christians, one of our primary responsibilities is to “love mercy.” As an individual who admittedly struggles with forgiveness and holding grudges (as many people do), this statement alone presents a daunting task. Still, the task may seem even more daunting when we see Jesus model it to such an extreme in various Bible stories. In fact, I think I’ve occasionally convinced myself that since Jesus is the extreme example of a characteristic (such as mercy) I am not really expected to live quite up to his standard; he is, after all, Jesus, and I am not. This reasoning, of course, is a major cop out from forcing myself to do something difficult, and I try to challenge myself when this thinking emerges. True, I can’t ever live up to Jesus’ standard, but I have the obligation to do the absolute most I’m capable of doing, and to try to meet the standard as closely as possible.

 

Even for people who may naturally have more merciful inclinations than I do, however, there are undoubtedly challenging situations and events that make mercy and forgiveness difficult. In the news recently, I read that Ingrid Williams (the wife of Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach, Monty Williams) was tragically killed in a car accident, when her car collided head-on with a vehicle that crossed into their lane. The driver of the other vehicle was speeding at 92 mph. The limit was 40 mph. Three of the Williams’ five children were also in the car, and they sustained serious injuries, as well.

 

I think that most of us can agree that if we found ourselves in the situation Monty Williams faced, we would feel some level of animosity towards the driver of the other car. Astonishingly, though, in the powerful eulogy he delivered for his wife only days later, Monty exhibited no such bitterness. In fact, he modeled true mercy, asking those supporting him and his family to also pray for the family of the other driver.

 

As I watched Monty Williams deliver his speech with genuine sincerity, I was really moved by how his trust in God was able to help him let go of any possible anger, resentment, and blame that he may have had, instead replacing it with kindness, forgiveness, and love. Of course, what happened was terrible, and he was in pain, but I saw an amazing peace in him, as well, and I was blown away by his message.

 

I think that a lot of times when we hold grudges, and resist letting go of the offenses people have inflicted upon us, we lack trust that God has a greater purpose, and that a mishap or tragedy in our lives indicates that God is wrong, gone, or not big enough to solve the hurts of this earth. The truth, however hard it may be to see through our despair, is that God’s plan is bigger than all of us. Despite the horrific event that happened to Monty Williams and his family, he has managed to touch peoples’ lives with his words.

 

There’s no doubt in my mind that he is imperfect. He is simply a man, not Jesus. Yet he is a man that understood the standard Jesus set in regards to mercy, and he delivered in his responsibility to demonstrate it. I would find it totally understandable if he had chosen, instead, to accept that he wasn’t Jesus, and rationalize that he had no obligation to forgive the woman driving the car that killed his wife, and risked the lives of three of his children, let alone pray for her family. But Monty Williams refused to cop out, and his example of mercy is one that I think we can all learn from. When I think of God using people to spread his light and love, I think that Monty Williams, amidst the darkness of death and loss, did just this.





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