Dear Mr. Thomas,
Last night my husband was watching the ESPN awards, and as I was reading, I overheard your speech and began to listen to it. When you finished, I commented to my husband, "Wow, it was clear they are Christians - what an amazing impact he had just in his speech!" Well, my husband rewound the video story regarding your dad (isn't DVR great?) and I watched the entire story. I was dumbfounded at the compassion your family showed to the other family. The word that kept coming to mind was Christlike .
My husband and I discussed the story a bit with each other, convicted of how we should be more compassionate and Christlike with little things since you all showed so much courage in BIG things, and I went to bed.
Not coincidentally, my 3 daughters, ages 8, 6 and 3 are memorizing Romans 12:9-21 for the summer. We have memorized verses 9-16 and today started with verse 17. Do you know what it says? Here it is (NIV) "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody." I read this and immediately your story came to mind. In the most simplest of terms, I tried to tell your story to them and explain to them how you applied these verses to real life. We talked about how angry we would be and how we would want to hurt the other person/family for the wrongdoing, but how Jesus wants us to show LOVE instead of vengeance. I believe they understood. We ended with priorities and how the TV said yours were "faith, family and football". I asked the girls if that reminded them of anyone else's priorities that they knew...minus the football :) They thought for a moment and then said, "Dad".
Thanks for the life lesson in making our verses COME ALIVE this morning. Really, your life impacted 100's of 1000's of people last night, and I believe continues to impact your family and community. You will be rewarded eternally. Ephesians 6:7-8 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
Hickory, North Carolina