Retired baseball player Bill Buckner died Monday at the age of 69. Buckner was a good fielder and a great hitter, amassing 2,715 hits in a career that spanned over 2 decades. Buckner won a batting title in 1980 and made the All-Star team in 1981.
However, Bill Buckner is best-known for making a crucial error in the 1986 World Series. A ground ball went under his glove and through his legs, allowing the winning run to score in Game 6. Buckner’s team, the Red Sox, went on to lose Game 7, and the series, to the Mets.
Many Boston fans were angry at Buckner for years to come, some of them saying mean and despicable things about him, sometimes to his face. But he did not allow one honest mistake to define him. He was gracious and forgiving, and, years later, the fans embraced Buckner as one of their heroes.
The lesson here is to be gracious in defeat. Don’t allow any mistake or misfortune to define you. And always be willing to forgive those who mistreat you.
After Bill Buckner’s death, his family released a statement that included these words: “Our hearts are broken but we are at peace knowing he is in the arms of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
That explains Buckner’s willingness to forgive. He took seriously the forgiveness that he had received from Jesus, and he knew that it was his responsibility to offer forgiveness to those who wronged him.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”—Colossians 3:13