I like going to the movies. I like sitting in the front row of the upper section, my wife’s favorite spot. We prop our feet on the rails in front of us, sit back buried in surround sound and share a box of popcorn and a diet coke. I especially like movies that are based on true stories: Akeela and the Bee, The Great Debaters, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Chariots of Fire, The Soloist. They capture faith, hope and courage greater than any fiction: Last week, for my birthday, we went to see The Blind Side. I will have to add it to the list.
The movie opens with the actual footage from Joe Theisman’s career ending injury. I watched it live when it happened. It still makes me cringe. The offensive tackle’s job in football is to protect the quarterback and keep that from happening. The title of the movie comes from the role of the left tackle who protects the quarterback’s blind side.
The movie is based Michael Oher’s true story. A homeless youth who wandered the streets of Memphis, Oher was befriended by a well-to-do Memphis family who took him in. Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy made him part of their family, paid for his education, encouraged and befriended him. Oher is now the rookie offensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens. He played the entire game last Monday night against Green Bay.
All of us have a blind side just as we all have blind spots. Our eyes have blind spots created by the optic nerve head. Our brain fills in the picture so we don’t realize it. But the blind spots in our field of vision are very real. (To check out your blind spot go to www.blindspottest.com) When something, or someone, is outside our peripheral view or in our blind spot, we can be “blind sided.”
The title of the movie, “The Blind Side,” could stand for those moments in life when God blindsides us with an opportunity to be transformed by making a remarkable difference. Leigh Anne and Sean Touhy were, quite literally, blind sided by a homeless black youth named Michael who gave them the opportunity to make a difference. When commended by a friend for changing Michael’s life, Leigh Anne responded, “No, he is changing me.”
Jesus was the master of the blindside. He never missed an opportunity to make a difference. When others tried to silence a blind beggar by the road, Jesus called for him and gave him sight. When his followers urged him to ignore a woman who timidly touched the hem of his garment, Jesus stopped and healed her twelve-year hemorrhage. When the citizens of Jericho rebuked the despised tax-collector, Zacchaus, Jesus visited him in his home. When He encountered a crowd of men about to stone a woman caught in the act of adultery, he exposed their hypocrisy and forgave her.
Christmas is, of course, about being blindsided. The whole world was blindsided by the birth of the babe at Bethlehem. Few took note, and those who did totally misunderstood. Most just didn’t see it. Maybe this Christmas God wants to blindside us with an opportunity that will change us and make a difference in someone else’s life. Sean Tuohy said regarding Michael Oher, "We think God sent him to us. Earthly explanations don't make sense."