I want to tell you about a man named Daryl Davis. Growing up in the south, Daryl faced many injustices, including being the only black kid in a white Boy Scout Troop and even having things thrown at him (mainly horrible insults). When he grew up, Daryl became a pianist and played in a rhythm and blues band. However, one day a friend asked him to fill in in his country band, so he went and played a bunch of country songs at a totally different venue. After the performance, he was approached by a man who complimented him and told him that he’d never seen a black man play like Jerry Lee Lewis before. Daryl joked back and said, “Well, where do you think he learned to play?” After that, the two struck up a long conversation; however, when the man’s friends approached a while later, they urged him to tell Daryl something important that he hadn’t yet: he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Nevertheless, because he saw something different in Daryl that he valued and enjoyed, the two continued developing a friendship, and ultimately, he left the KKK. Inspired by this course of events, Daryl decided to make it a hobby to walk into Klan and neo-Nazi meetings to talk to people, reason with them, encourage them, and get them to question their beliefs. To date, he has been part of leading at least 200 people out of a lifestyle of racism and bigotry — all by simply being a friend!
This is a great lesson to all of us, my friend, because if Daryl Davis can walk into a Klan meeting and befriend its members and forgive them, you can forgive your coworker for stealing your stapler, or your next door neighbor for leaving his trash cans out. You can also forgive whoever it is in your church that rubs you the wrong way, and you can love and pray for your competitors. Like Jesus did, the best way to lead people is to know and understand them; to see their heart, their humanity, and their value in Heaven’s eyes. Caring for the souls of others is the most divinely influential thing you can ever do!