SOURCE: Zoba, Wendy. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Christianity Today. March 6, 2000
KEYWORDS: coat, Martin Luther, fortress, forgiveness, love, Mister Rogers, Pittsburgh
[At Western Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA] Mister Rogers studied systematic theology with Dr. William S. Orr. "From then on I took everything he offered; it could have been underwater basket weaving.
"He was a great influence on many of our lives. Not just because he was brilliant," he says. "He was the kind of person who would go out on a winter's day for lunch and come back without his overcoat.
"I studied Greek with him and then I studied New Testament with him. Every Sunday, my wife and I used to go to the nursing home to visit him. One Sunday we had just sung 'A Mighty Fortress Is Our God' and I was full of this one verse. I said, 'Dr. Orr, we just sang this hymn and I've got to ask you about part of it.
"'You know where it says-The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him. For, lo, his doom is sure …. one little word will fell him? Dr. Orr, what is that one thing that would wipe out evil?'
"He said, 'Evil simply disintegrates in the presence of forgiveness. When you look with accusing eyes at your neighbor, that is what evil would want, because the more the accuser'-which, of course, is the word Satan in Hebrew-'can spread the accusing spirit, the greater evil spreads.' Dr. Orr said, 'On the other hand, if you can look with the eyes of the Advocate on your neighbor, those are the eyes of Jesus.'
"I've never forgotten that."