We Agree Different

09.14.17 | by The Very Rev. Dr. Neal Michell

We Agree Different

    When Yogi Berra was fired by George Steinbrenner in 1985 as manager of the New York Yankees, Yogi was resentful because, (a) Mr. Steinbrenner didn't fire him personally (Yogi said that getting fried happens all the time but that he believed that George Steinbrenner owed him the courtesy of a personal conversation), and (b) Mr. Steinbrenner had promised that Yogi would have the full year to begin rebuilding the New York Yankees.

    During the period of Yogi's estrangement from the New York Yankees, when someone would ask about their relationship, Yogi would simply say, "We agree different."

    For fourteen years, Yogi stayed away from Yankee Stadium. They put up a plaque in his honor, but Yogi stayed away. They invited him to Old-Timers games, but he stayed away. His closest friends on the Yankees would plead with Yogi to come. Succeeding managers did likewise. Out of pride, Yogi stayed away.

    Finally, in 1998, a sports broadcaster who was close to George Steinbrenner negotiated for Yogi to be willing to allow George Steinbrenner to fly to visit Yogi at his museum. Yogi agreed.

    In January, George and Yogi and Carmen Berra had a heart-to-heart talk. George apologized.  Yogi forgave. He responded, "Fourteen years is long enough. It's over." Now, according to Yogi, "things have been terrific with me and George." He says, "Now there is forgiveness and reconciliation. I really have no regrets."

    When we don't fully forgive the other person, there is always a "but." I believe in the forgiveness of sins because I have been forgiven. When I have experienced the unconditional forgiveness of God, I can extend forgiveness to the other person. When we really forgive the other person, it wipes the slate clean. Only as we have received God's forgiveness of us can we "forgive those who sin against us."