Today (in the United States) we celebrated the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a courageous man of faith who ended up giving his life for the cause of love. He worked so that his dream might be realized: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Television and radio stations played quotes from his famous speeches as we were reminded of where our nation has come from and in many cases how far we still have to travel.
Racism continues to play a role in the fabric of most societies across the globe. The unfortunately reality is that is also continues to play a role in the churches of our nations as well. Sunday morning remains the most segregated time of the week for most countries (the U.S.A. especially).
As we remember this pioneer of social justice let us take a few moments to read some of the things that he said. The quotes I have listed are less commonly quoted in the media but are some of the most powerful things Dr. King said.
Here are some of Dr. King’s quotes:
- A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.
- The means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.
- A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.
- Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
- Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
- Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
- Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
- Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
- Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.
- He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
- The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.
- The time is always right to do what is right.
As followers of Christ we must work aggressively and conscientiously to continue to tear down the wall of segregation, separation and discrimination based on gender and race. The Apostle Paul said it this way:
There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28 NLT)
“The time is always right to do what is right”. This is a powerful truth that should propel us forward in faith and love.
We love, because He loves, even when our love is not returned. We share, because He gave, even when our message is rejected. We stand for truth, because His truth remains settled in heaven, even when truth lies fallen in our streets. We stand for righteousness and justice for all people, because He is holy, even when oppression and segregation are the doctrines of our societies.
The love of God remains constant regardless of our faith. The love of God remains constant regardless of our sin. The love of God remains constant regardless of status, standing or social influence. The love of God has spoke for all of eternity through the cross. It is this love that was given to each of us when the entire world was separated from God because of sin. “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8 NLT)
The blood of Christ brings equality to all people. We are all unrighteous in need of the Savior and yet we have all been given the invitation to come and be renewed, restored and redeemed.
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life. (Revelation 22:17 NLT)
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Instead, we will speak the truth in love… (Ephesians 4:15 NLT)
What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” (James 2:14-18 NLT)