Today, 01/18/2016, we celebrate the great man and the great achievements of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King tirelessly pursued equal justice and the brotherhood of man employing peaceful means. Let us take a look at a couple things we can learn from Martin Luther King, Jr.:
1) Peace and Love, Not Violence
Martin Luther King, Jr. angered some activists of his day by refusing to engage in violent protest. Malcolm X once stated:
“The goal has always been the same, with approaches to it as different as mine and Dr. Martin Luther King’s non-violent marching, that dramatizes the brutality and the evil of the white man against defenseless blacks. And in the racial climate of this country today, it is anybody’s guess which of the ‘extremes’ in approach to the black man’s problems might personally meet a fatal catastrophe first — ‘non-violent’ Dr. King, or so-called ‘violent’ me.”
King took the route of Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi by leading numerous peaceful demonstrations centered on love, not hate. The King Center writes:
“Drawing inspiration from both his Christian faith and the peaceful teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King led a nonviolent movement in the late 1950’s and ‘60s to achieve legal equality for African-Americans in the United States. While others were advocating for freedom by “any means necessary,” including violence, Martin Luther King, Jr. used the power of words and acts of nonviolent resistance, such as protests, grassroots organizing, and civil disobedience to achieve seemingly-impossible goals.”
In the Constitutional republic we live in, numerous peaceful lawful means of recourse are still available to us to fix the problems in our society. As we engage in the civil arena, let us remember that the greatest movements in human and American history – from the advance of the Gospel, the Great Awakening spurred by the Black Robe Regiment, and the civil rights movement – found their success in spirit of love and peace.
2) You Must Stand
To realize change, a courageous first step must be taken: you must stand. In the face of brutal resistance and the forces of evil, keep standing. King stood strong when it was most difficult to do so. King said:
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.”
“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable … Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
“In the End, we remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Every movement begins with a courageous individual showing bravery by standing strong. As encouraged by Apostle Paul, gird up your loins to make ready to resist evil.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6: 10-17 [KJV]).”
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