Michael and the Briarcrest Saints: a Parable

The word translated Goodness as we read the list of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) has both a descriptive element that combines with an active component. It means both to have the goodness of character brought about by the transforming Holy Spirit and to actively demonstrate this good, wholesome character trait to others. The parable of the Good Samaritan is often pointed to as an illustration of good, as the Samaritan goes out of his way to care for the injured man who had been bypassed by others who should have been marked by this same spirit of compassion and generosity. He alone exercises both trait and action.

It strikes me that the story of Michael Oher and the Tuohy’s is a modern parable of this goodness. Michael’s destiny was pointing in the wrong direction from the moment of his birth. Being born into poverty and a broken family situation placed him alongside the highway of American culture while others who could intervene whizzed past him without attempting to help, justifying their lack of charity for any one of a million reasons. When Big Tony put Michael and Steven in his ancient Taurus and drove them over the imaginary line dividing Memphis, he set in motion the act of goodness that would come to pass.

When Michael was granted admission to the Briarcrest Christian School, Sean and then Leigh Anne had their moments of intervention into his life. Unaware that his future trajectory would skyrocket with the recognition of his football skills, the Tuohy’s simply saw a person in need of help. And help they did, as the Samaritan did, by taking greater and greater responsibility for their charge ignoring the racial line that had divided their community for years and treating him as though he were one of their own. In other words, their good went beyond a sense that something should be done – it came to life nosing the course of Michael’s life into a steeper and steeper upward angle.

The best parables are simple so many details are absent this observation. The rest of the story is told in The Blind Side which I’ve written about previously.  There is much fruit to be harvested in this tale; love, patience, kindness and self-control among them.