Letter To A Cousin

April 19, 2013


Our relative called me the other day to update me on your move to Fieldstone and I was so sorry to hear that this move had become necessary and I’m sure it has taken a lot of accommodation. His call reminded me of the good old days when I was a kid. I told him how I looked up to you and your many exploits and successes. That you were a guard on one of the best football teams ever and actually went to the Midsouth Bowl in Mississippi. I told him that our entire family often had dinner together on Sundays after church, and that someone would always pick a topic, everybody would choose sides and we would have a great debate – well, more like an argument – and that in high school, you were on a state championship debate team. I also told him that on your way own home from the Korean War, you stopped by Vanderbilt and – with no previous experience, but one evening’s instruction – we played in the Vanderbilt duplicate bridge tournament. Of course we lost big time, but all our opponents had fun playing against us. So basically we were the hit of the party. I think I failed to mention the time I almost ran over you with a tractor/disk on Highway 79 – you were not overjoyed to say the least. I know your memory is failing and you may not remember much of this, but it’s all true and I remember it very fondly.

Speaking of family debating/arguing, I also had a great time on all those springtime weekend excursions that we took a few years ago. One topic on most – if not all – of the trips was religion – your having been a preacher and all – at least for a couple weeks. I remember you saying that you weren’t really sure how you felt about this Jesus thing, but had come to believe that what counted was to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Recently, while reading the Philips version of the Bible, I came upon this verse in Matthew 7 and thought you pretty much got Jesus’s message: “Treat other people exactly as you would like to be treated by them—this is the essence of all true religion.”

When I view that in light of Jesus’s statement in John 14:12; “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing” – which, of course, was doing unto others as you would have them do to you – I concluded that you are more of a believer than you thought – or at least said in those arguments. So I claim victory in the arguments and you should claim victory in your life.

Here’s an insight that I think you might enjoy:

Almost everyone – including Tim Tebow and I – considers our favorite Bible verse to be John 3:16; “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. But I don’t know how well you have kept up with football for the past 10 years, so let me give you a short version of the Tebow story. Ten or so years ago, Tim was the all-American/Heisman-Trophy-winning quarterback for Florida’s national championship team. He was known to be a devout Christian and painted “John 3:16” on as his black eye-paint. Several years ago in leading Denver to defeat the favored Pittsburgh Steelers in the wild-card playoff game, he completed an 80 yard pass in overtime for the winning touchdown. His total passing yardage in that game was 316 yards and his average yards-per-pass was 31.6).

But, here’s a Bible passage, that’s high on my list but not so much so for others:

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise”.

Luke 23:40

It’s one of my favorite Bible passages because it shows that God loves everyone and will forgive anyone, including me.

I wish you the very best in these very trying times and love and appreciate you,

Your cousin