This month, we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a moment in time when our country feels hopelessly divided.
Many of us feel that the country is hopelessly divided financially, socially, emotionally and spiritually. Many are feeling that this is one of the greatest divides that has ever been spiritually in the country. It seems as if the Word of God means nothing to so many.
There once was a time when the Word had meaning for most Americans. I remember hearing other Christians say, and I have said it myself, that if an individual has the Word in him or her and truly believes the Word, we can work out the disagreement by relying on the Word to get us back to a safe place. Dr. King believed “that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.”
It reminds me of a minister friend of mine who also worked at the school with me when I was in the world of work. He walked up on a group of students fighting and cursing each other. He was able to recognize one of the students who was a member of the church at which he was ministering. He said that he got bold with that knowledge and walked upon that fighting group and called the name of the child that he knew and instantly the child stood up straight and answered, “Yes sir, Mr. Daniel.”
Mr. Daniel said, “Son, why are you making a spectacle out of yourself in public?”
The young man proceeded to attempt to place blame on the other young man, but before he could get a clear sentence out…
Mr. Daniel stopped him immediately and said, “Listen son! When I walked up here, I saw two individuals fighting, but instantly my eyes focused on you because I remembered that you belong to the Christian group with me. I did not know the other individual. My question to you is, should I not be able to tell the difference by your behavior and action?”
The young man said, “Yes, sir. There was no way for you to tell the saved from the unsaved, and I am sorry for how I was misrepresenting God. I get your point and I thank you for reminding me that I should behave like who I am. My behavior was out of character. I should help others to identify me as the saved one among the lost.”
Dr. King was quoted as saying that, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
Many of us are so caught up in our little narrow concerns and finite ways of thinking that we refuse to allow the knowledge that we have of our Father to guide us. The Word tells us not to lean to our own understanding. We are much too finite and fragile to be our own guide.
Listening to those of us who are chattering away aimlessly about what is taking place in our community and country, it is impossible to tell the believers from the nonbelievers. We are allowing our dislikes, and in some instances our hatred for each other, to take over and blind us so that we are not seeing clearly — nor are we reasoning like the decent human beings who we proclaim to be.
Those of us who are believers should still have hope because we know who is in charge. I believe we will once again move forward together. But to do that, we must realize what Dr. King realized — “That opportunity is the only road to true equality. There is no way for this country to continue to stand unless it offers opportunity equally to all Americans.”
Dr. Martin Luther King’s words continue to inspire those who believe, from the grave. Listening to that voice of peace, hope and faith as he speaks to us from beyond the grave motivates us to press on a little longer and harder, realizing, as Dr. King said, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” The eloquence and the truth of his words continue to guide us forward as we strive as a country to become a more perfect union. This is why “Right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”
Dr. King’s words were not just for his time but for generations to come.