The Love and Wisdom of God through Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This month, we are talking about Living in the Light. As we approach Martin Luther King Day, we’ll celebrate the light Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shone on humankind through his courageous words and peaceful Christian beliefs.
Dr. King was a man who held passionate beliefs about equality—not just racial equality, but equality for poor and working class Americans of every color. His passion ignited at an early age. A very gifted Martin Luther King, Jr. began his collegiate studies at the age of 15. He was a highly intelligent man who initially pursued courses in medicine and law, but was sent down a different path with encouragement from his mentor, Dr. Benjamin Hays, president of Morehouse College.
Imagine a Baptist minister and father of four rising to lead a national civil rights revolution in this nation less than 100 years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. This revolution was characterized not by angry words or violent actions, but by organized, nonviolent means of resistance such as sit-ins, boycotts, and thoughtful dialogue. Martin Luther King, Jr. was influenced by the work of Mahatma Gandhi and other peaceful activists, but most notably, his unfailing belief in the redemptive love of Jesus Christ.
God used Martin Luther King, Jr. to bring love and light into the midst of a tense situation. Now we aren’t all destined for a national stage or a federal holiday named in our honor, but God has a plan for each of us and can use us to fulfill His holy plan and purpose and to impact the lives of others.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was a torch bearer for the African-American community, and he shined a light on the issues of segregation in schools and public places, being denied the right to vote, and on the struggle to attain good wages and positions in the workplace.
God placed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the right place and right time and blessed him with an intellect, heart, and voice meant to imbue this nation with love, forgiveness, and redemptive transformation. It is important for young people, and all Americans, to understand our history in order to understand where we are and where we are going, and to see God’s fingerprints in the lives of those who follow him. The Civil Rights Movement in America offers an opportunity to gain an understanding of peaceful protest, of fighting and praying for a just cause—without causing a fight.
To understand the beauty of Dr. King’s approach to the serious issue of legalized discrimination in his time, listen to his I Have a Dream speech, delivered at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in August 1963.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is heralded as a modern-day hero, almost larger than life. Here's what's amazing, though: you and I don’t have to be larger than life to be used by God. Ultimately it was King’s obedience and willingness to follow God’s lead that allowed God to work through him. That’s something we all have the power to do.
More wisdom from Dr. King:
Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.
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.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
We believe firmly in the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. I can see no conflict between our devotion to Jesus Christ and our present action. In fact, I can see a necessary relationship. If one is truly devoted to the religion of Jesus he will seek to rid the earth of social evils. The gospel is social as well as personal.
I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.
The time is always right to do what is right.