The handshake spoke volumes. On a March night in 1963, two college basketball players—one Black, one White—defied the hate of segregationists and shook hands, marking the first time in Mississippi State’s history that its all-White men’s team played against an integrated team. To compete in the “game of change” against Loyola University Chicago in a national tournament, the Mississippi State squad avoided an injunction to stop them by using decoy players to leave their state. Loyola’s Black players, meantime, had endured racial slurs all season, getting pelted with popcorn and ice, and faced closed doors while traveling.
Yet the young men played. The Loyola Ramblers beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs 61–51, and Loyola eventually went on to win the NCAA national championship. But what really won that night? A move from hate toward love. As Jesus taught, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27).
God’s instruction was a life-changing concept. To love our enemies as Christ taught, we must obey His revolutionary mandate to change. As Paul wrote, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17). But how does His new way in us defeat the old? With love. Then, in each other, we can finally see Him.