When making the daily rounds through social media streams, it’s way too easy for me to devolve into cynicism. Between the shouty political noise and clickbaity look-at-me clamoring, it can all be a little much.
But this, this is an example of the power of genuine, authentic faith in Jesus to cut through the noise and brokenness of our culture.
Ingrid Williams, the wife of Monty Williams, the associate head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder, was tragically killed in a car accident last week.
By all accounts, Williams is a beloved figure around the NBA and this incredible message he delivered at his wife’s memorial service demonstrates why:
Williams demonstrates so much to admire: his genuine love and admiration for his wife, his trust and faith in God even in these darkest of times. As he said during his beautiful eulogy, “This will work out. Doesn’t mean it’s not hard. Doesn’t mean it’s not painful. Doesn’t mean we won’t have tough times. What we need is the Lord. And that’s what my wife tried to exhibit every single day.”
But at 4:40, Williams says something truly stunning:
I’m going to close with this, and I think it’s the most important thing that we need to understand. Everybody is praying for me and my family, which is right, but let us not forget that there were two people in this situation, and that family needs prayer as well. And we have no ill will toward that family.
In my house, we have a sign that says ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’ We cannot serve the Lord if we don’t have a heart of forgiveness. That family didn’t wake up wanting to hurt my wife.
Life is hard. It is very hard. And that was tough. But we hold no ill will towards the Donaldson family. And we, as a group, brothers united in unity, should be praying for that family, because they grieve as well.
Normally, I’m in the don’t read the comments camp of Internet browsing. Too often, the comments are worse than a schoolyard with their no-you’re-the racist accusations and anonymized name-calling.
But the comments (at least on one popular sports blog) speak to the authenticity of Monty Williams’ witness of the hope and power we find in Jesus. A quick sampling:
It’s always heartwarming when a true Christian is heard from. I am not religious, but I believe the teachings of Christ is the lessons of forgiveness. Forgiveness is what you need in your heart to look at others and understand they grieve too. To turn the other cheek, sometimes you need to see through the eyes of others, as painful as that might be. The test of your beliefs is when you are in the darkest place, when everything is crumbling.
It is truly awesome to behold.
“We didn’t lose her. When you lose something you can’t find it. I know exactly where my wife is.”
Damn. Those sentences right there. Stopped me cold and made me think. What a powerful thing to say in such a simple and concise manner.
I’m a huge Knicks fan an I remember when they drafted him out of Notre Dame and everyone was concerned about his preexisting heart condition. It turns out he managed to rise above it and made a good career for himself. As great as that was, it appears his life off the court was even better.
Its heartbreaking that he lost his wife the way he did, but man, having that type of faith is pretty awesome. I don’t care what religion someone believes in, but when you see that type of faith, love, and forgiveness in someone, you know they will be able to carry on.
Was his condition that his heart is enormous? Sure sounds like it.
May the peace of our Lord Jesus rest upon the Williams family as they navigate their sorrow and loss, and may they continue to walk in such genuine faith.