The following is an excerpt from Today In The Word – A Ministry of Moody Bible Institute’s devotional of 12 May 2011, “In 1988, Mike Tyson and Michael Spinks met in the boxing match with the richest purse in history up to that point. Spinks was undefeated and a legitimate title contender, but Tyson knocked him out of the match—and out of boxing—in just 91 seconds. At that moment, Tyson appeared to have cemented his place at the top of his sport. But his success crashed down almost as quickly as his opponents once fell to the mat. Controversy in the ring and financial, personal, and legal trouble out of the ring brought his career to an ignoble demise. By 2005 he lamented, “I’m really embarrassed with myself and my life. People put me so high; I wanted to tear that image down.” ”
In this article, boxer Tyson was likened to King Nebuchadnezzar (who fell from grace and lived like an animal eating grass before his repentance and eventual restoration after seven years).
A coincidence too good to be missed, I also read on 12 May 2011 an article by May Seah from Today about “Heavyweight vs featherweights” featuring Mike Tyson. It wasn’t another bout but a study in contrast revealing that: “From the age of nine, he has bred, raised and loved pigeons.” He is now being featured on television with his feathered friends in “Taking On Tyson” by Animal Planet.
In his own words, this renewed macho man says, "I learnt (through therapy) that I'm a jealous, insecure, insignificant little flea, and that I have low self-esteem and a big ego", and that it is "submission" that makes a man a man.”
About this time also I read from Reader’s Digest on “17 Things Your Mother Wants You To Know” which came in the form of 17 great quotes. I like the first one the most. It is by Mary Morgan who says, “Be kind to everyone. You never know what’s really going on in someone’s life.”
We are exhorted not to lord it over others or to think too highly of ourselves, and not to be quick to judge or become angry with other people. In the first place, we don’t really know them or where they might be coming from, do we?
Today, I know and understand a bit more about Mike Tyson. Following from this, I think the key ingredient to living a kinder life towards other people is: UNDERSTANDING. Understanding God’s dealing with other people (ouch!) and God’s dealing with us (double ouch!!).
For the “…the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:17b – 24; NKJV)
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32; NKJV)Also, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6; NKJV)
The following Scripture verses will further add to our working memory of “understanding” (and more): “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.” (Psalm 111:10; NKJV) “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” (Proverbs 24:3-4; NKJV)
Being kind to one another would be a reasonably good test of our understanding and the related attributes of knowledge and wisdom. Can we fare better today than all of our yesterdays?
And, oh, by the way, we have not even touched on “Love One Another” which is a much, much bigger deal.