My wife and I went to see “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” last weekend, the Mr. Rogers movie starring Tom Hanks. We usually go to the matinee, but in this case we had to wait until evening since all the theaters were sold out. We made our way over snow packed streets, found our seats and sat back to view the movie in a packed theater.

Perhaps the Mr. Rogers movie is so popular because we are exhausted by the constant media barrage of political accusations, hatred, prejudice and violence. We are hungry for gentleness, kindness, acceptance and encouragement.

I expected the movie to be about Fred Rogers, the well-known children’s show host, but the movie focused instead on what Mr. Rogers taught with applications to adult brokenness. Specifically it focused on the fact that we are neighbors. Everyone is our neighbor, regardless of race, gender, creed or age. It focused on the importance of forgiveness, especially in our closest relationships.

It does this by introducing us to Lloyd Vogel, a fictional character based on the real life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. Junod began writing for Esquire magazine in 1997 and received two national awards for journalism. In a live interview, Junod claims the friendship with Mr. Rogers was transformational. He says, “I wasn’t the only one. He had a long list of people that he ministered to, that he prayed for. He saw something in me at the time that maybe I didn’t see in myself.”

Of course these teachings do not originate with Mr. Rogers. He was an ordained Presbyterian minister and believed the teachings of Jesus. It was Jesus who taught we should love our neighbor as ourselves and defined the meaning of “neighbor” with His story of the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37).

It was Jesus who underscored the importance of forgiveness: “For if you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, your heavenly Father will not forgive you” (Matthew 6:14-15). “Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven’” (Matthew 18:21-22).

Jesus demonstrated what He meant when He hung upon the cross, the nails ripping at his flesh and the crown of thorns pressed deep into his brow. He looked upon His tormentors and cried, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

What a different world we make when we treat every man, woman and child as our neighbor, when every wrong suffered is forgiven.

Bill Tinsley reflects on current events and life experience from a faith perspective. His children’s book, “Buddy the Floppy Ear Corgi” is available on Amazon. Visit www.tinsleycenter.com. Email bill@tinsleycenter.com.