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Tim Tebow’s act better than any touchdown

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Tim Tebow tweet after connecting via phone with Matthew Hardy, car accident survivor in upstate New York, after hashtag TebowCallMatt started trending

Tim Tebow called high school football player Matthew Hardy earlier this week.  Why is this event making headlines?  Here’s the story: Matthew survived a car crash last Saturday involving a drunk driver, but his girlfriend and friend were killed.  Friends created the Twitter hashtag #TebowCallMatt, hoping to get the quarterback’s attention.

Their campaign worked: Tebow learned about Matthew’s tragedy and called him.  Tebow said later, “You think of what have I done to deserve an opportunity to encourage a kid like that.  It’s worth everything and it’s awesome.  It’s better than any touchdown I’ll ever score.”

Continuing our theme: People magazine is profiling “individuals whose extraordinary bravery and kindness stood out this year.”  Among them: Michael McDonnell and Dylan Smith, who rescued six people during Superstorm Sandy; J.D. and James Bennett, who pulled two toddlers from a burning van in California; Madison Wallraf, who saved 22 horses in a burning barn; and N.Y.P.D. Officer Larry DePrimo, whose gift of shoes to a homeless man made international headlines.

Here’s another inspirational sports story making headlines.  Jared Stevens is on the Sunset Middle School wrestling team in Nashville, Tennessee.  He also has cerebral palsy.  He cheers for the team during practices and matches, but has long wanted to wrestle.  When Sunset was competing against Freedom Middle School a few days ago, his coach asked Freedom’s coach which wrestler on his team “has the kindest heart.”  He was introduced to seventh-grader Justin Kievit.

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{/source}As the video shows, Jared’s coach placed him on the gym floor.  Justin shook his hand, then lay down beside him, put Jared’s arm over his body and was pinned, giving Jared the victory.  Good Morning America told their story yesterday morning; the video has gone viral.  As Jared’s father said, “The two adjectives that come out of this whole episode are courage and character, on both of these guys’ parts.”  Justin said, “Sometimes winning isn’t the right thing, isn’t the most important thing.”  The news anchor who reported the story said, “It makes you feel better about the world.”

It does, indeed.  In a society worried this morning about the economy, riots in Egypt, chemical weapons in Syria and climate change, these stories prove that a simple act of compassion impacts more people than we can imagine.  It doesn’t take much salt or light to make a big difference (Matthew 5:13-16).

So be encouraged: your next act of kindness can change the world.  The darker the room, the brighter the candle.