Dani Alves, a professional soccer player with Barcelona, was lining up to send off a routine corner kick. As he was getting everything set up, someone threw a banana right in front of him. Having been the target of racial abuse before, this banana was clearly an act of racism, labeling him as “monkey” because of the color of his skin.
There were many ways Dani Alves could have responded to this. He could have gotten angry. He could have yelled and screamed. He could have picked up the banana and launched it back into the crowd in protest. Instead, Alves calmly walked up, picked up the banana, pealed it, broke off a huge bite, and ate it. Without missing a beat he brushed off his hands and sent off the corner kick (See Video)
What Dani Alves did during this game perfectly illustrated a biblical concept. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Alves displayed an answer that was soft and maybe even funny on some levels. At least so far, his answer appears to have calmed the racist anger against him.
As Christians, we have chosen to live a life which attracts wrath and disagreement. Many disagree with what God’s word says and thus turn their anger upon us when we stand with God. There was a really good reason Jesus told His disciples, “You will be hated by all because of My name…” (Mark 13:13). Many Christians today are faced with similar treatment.
People are going to throw their anger and hostility at us. It may come in the form of personal attacks, insults, and anger. When people throw these “bananas” at us, let’s take a page from Dani Alves book and respond with a gentle answer. As Proverbs 15:1 stated, it’s difficult to be angry with someone who doesn’t help to stir up the problem. Not only will this help to resolve the situation, but it displays a Christ-like attitude and example.