Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My thoughts on . . .

One of my heroes - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I am amazed at the continued ignorance by some when it comes to Dr. King. He has, by some, been unfairly lumped in with the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. They are not even on the same planet.

Unlike Rev. Jessie Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. King constantly preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. And he lived it. Dr. King believed in the words of Jesus: Love your enemies. In one speech, Dr. King said:

"Now let me hasten to say that Jesus was very serious when he gave this command; he wasn’t playing. He realized that it’s hard to love your enemies. He realized that it’s difficult to love those persons who seek to defeat you, those persons who say evil things about you. He realized that it was painfully hard, pressingly hard. But he wasn’t playing. And we cannot dismiss this passage as just another example of Oriental hyperbole, just a sort of exaggeration to get over the point. This is a basic philosophy of all that we hear coming from the lips of our Master. Because Jesus wasn’t playing; because he was serious. We have the Christian and moral responsibility to seek to discover the meaning of these words, and to discover how we can live out this command, and why we should live by this command."

"So this morning, as I look into your eyes, and into the eyes of all of my brothers in Alabama and all over America and over the world, I say to you, "I love you. I would rather die than hate you." And I’m foolish enough to believe that through the power of this love somewhere, men of the most recalcitrant bent will be transformed. And then we will be in God’s kingdom. We will be able to matriculate into the university of eternal life because we had the power to love our enemies, to bless those persons that cursed us, to even decide to be good to those persons who hated us, and we even prayed for those persons who despitefully used us."

Dr. King believed that loving his enemies would eventually bring them to see the ugliness of their hate and change their hearts. He preached that violence was not the answer. That black power and white power would ultimately fail because that kind of thinking failed to recognize the only true power: God's power.

I believe Dr. King was one of the bravest men in history. To walk in the midst of your enemies knowing they would spit on you, throw things at you, threaten to kill you, etc. and stand there and tell them you love them. That's courage. And more importantly, his courage inspired courage in others. At a time when Black America was deciding between the violent militancy of Malcom X and the Christian principle of Love your enemies, Dr. King inspired millions to overcome the easy and natural inclination to hate their enemies. I believe, because of this, he saved tens of thousands of lives.

He didn't advocate revenge, only forgiveness and equal opportunity . He didn't speak against America, he only wanted her to finally fulfill her promise that all men are created equal.

He didn't want white supremacists to die and go to hell, he wanted them to see the error of their hate and find God's love so they too could enter His kingdom.

It seems that throughout history, God has placed certain men at certain times to accomplish things only they could. I believe Martin Luther King was one of those men.


Todd said...

You are so right. One cannot help but admire what he stood for and how he conducted himself. He acquitted himself as a true man in the face of the ignorance and intolerance that ruled the place and time in which he lived.

Today's "wanna be" keepers of Dr. King's legacy, the Jacksons and Sharptons of the world, who are so quick to invoke his name, are not worthy to be mentioned in the same breath. They would do well to go back and read what he actually believed, taught, and lived.

You would think that that message of love would be better understood and appreciated by men who love to affix the title Reverend to their name.

Love your enemy.

Judge a man by the content of his character.

Use nonviolent resistance when civil disobedience becomes necessary.

A wonderful legacy that deserves to be remembered and honored.

Mark H. said...

Great, great man. I'm praying that God raises up another one of these leaders today.