Generosity at the World Cup

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It was a heart-stopping moment. For more than an hour and a half, two of the best soccer teams on the globe battled against one another in non-stop action. Finally Brazil made a goal to win. Colombia had just lost their chance for the World Cup. While thousands of Colombians in the stands were stunned, one key Colombian player broke down on the field. Sobbing, he buried his face in his hands.

This was the moment that moved my heart: a Brazilian player came over to comfort him. Embracing him briefly, he spoke to the losing player and stood quietly with him. Then he took off his shirt and gave it to his former opponent. Still crying, the Colombian did the same.

After years of training to compete against each other, in this one gesture the Brazilian had broken through their rivalry to reconcile and to console.

People don’t usually do such things out of the blue. Most acts of compassion come out of a lifelong discipline, a way of living. Rather than lording his victory over the losing team, the Brazilian player set winning and losing aside. He treated his rival like a brother, in an act of sheer generosity. It was like watching Jesus.

Your partner in ministry,

Betsy Schwarzentraub