My small and very selective movie collection is comprised mostly of real-life accounts of underappreciated, sometime under-privileged and usually underdog individuals who receive an opportunity to grow, is encouraged to succeed or allowed to flourish, films like Rudy, Hoosiers, Blind Side, Radio, October Sky, and A Little Prayer.

In most of these movies, one person took an interest in someone who may not have “had it all” on the outside, gave someone a second chance or allowed himself to learn something about the character of the other person.  In other words, they showed mercy and kindness to one another.  That is what we as Christians are commanded to do.

This is what the Lord Almighty says: Judge fairly and honestly, and show mercy and kindness to one another (Zechariah 7:9).

So encourage each other and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Only God knows the beginning and the end of all things.  If we are to be more Christ-like, shouldn’t we seek to know more about someone before making a judgment and writing them off?  We may surprise ourselves at how we can be used (and receive back) when we invest our time into learning about someone, encouraging others and believing in the potential rather than settling on the given.

Paul Harvey, long-time radio broadcaster, used to discuss people and topics we may have heard something about except he would fill-in the blanks, the back-story, and the details we oftentimes never knew or sought on our own.  Most often than not, listeners would be amazed and entertained by the particulars he would share.  At the end of his illuminating message he would always conclude with, “…and that’s the rest of the story.”

Many of us would be well-served if we took the time to find out the history of the people we simply write-off, give up on, or judge so quickly.  We may learn to have more mercy for others and learn something about ourselves in the process.  Don’t draw a conclusion on yourself or others until you know the rest of the story.

It doesn’t matter so much where we or anyone else has come from, what matters is where we are heading.  With a little help, we can see the world differently and be a part of changing it and others for the good.

Doctor Carson’s amazing transformation can be found in his autobiography, Gifted Hands, which has also been made into a movie by the same title.

Cliff Young is a contributing writer to Sandlot Stories (ARose Books), as well as the monthly column, "He Said-She Said," in Crosswalk.com's Singles Channel.  An architect and former youth worker, he now works with Christian musicians and consults for a number of Christian ministries. Got feedback?  Send your comments and questions to cydmg@yahoo.com.

Publication date: October 18, 2012