Martin Luther King’s rationale for love and nonviolence was an attempt to follow in the steps of Jesus. Throughout his life, he reminded himself and others about Sermon on the Mount’s (the Jesus Manifesto) call to love our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48) and the arrest of Jesus (Matthew 26-36-56), which calls people to a nonviolent love in search for justice. Continue reading
Jesus is clear that what we do for the poor we do for Him. He is equally clear that if we don’t do for the poor, we have ignored Jesus. Hell is waiting for us if we don’t.
Consider “For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.” Continue reading
I was 9 years old during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. I was living in Atlanta, Georgia. The deep south was clearly a racist world at that time. It wouldn’t stay that way. Change was on the way.
We celebrate Dr. King’s vision and the speech he gave that galvanized our country. It is stunning and still rings home today. Continue reading
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed the crowd at the end of the Selma to Montgomery march. Here is part of what he said. Great question. “How long will it take?”
I know you are asking today, “How long will it take?” Somebody’s asking, “How long will prejudice blind the visions of men, darken their understanding, and drive bright-eyed wisdom from her sacred throne?” Somebody’s asking, “When will wounded justice, lying prostrate on the streets of Selma and Birmingham and communities all over the South, be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men?” Somebody’s asking, “When will the radiant star of hope be plunged against the nocturnal bosom of this lonely night, plucked from weary souls with chains of fear and the manacles of death? How long will justice be crucified, and truth bear it?”
I come to say…
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Jesus challenges me to love. That is it. Love God and love everyone else I know or meet.
The alternative is to hate. That is a choice many of us take. It doesn’t work.
There is no other way in God’s world. God is love and we must love.
I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~~Martin Luther King, Jr.
There are limits to what government can do but clearly some of them are very important.
Jesus, the Messiah and our Master, challenged us to give to Caesar the things that are Caesars and to God the things that are God’s.
“It is true that behavior cannot be legislated, and legislation cannot make you love me, but legislation can restrain you from lynching me, and I think that is kind of important. “ ~~Martin Luther King, Jr. (Speech at Oberlin College (1964)
Jesus, the Messiah and our Master, challenges us to love. He challenges us to love our enemies. He challenges us to love everyone we know and come in contact with.
Love transforms people.
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
It is easy to talk about the quality of work. Is it done so well no one can do it better?
That is quality.
Whatever your life’s work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better. ~~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed the crowd at the end of the Selma to Montgomery march. Dr. King had a clear vision that Jesus is the truth. That was his driving force. He knew that “Standeth God within the shadow” and “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord”.
In that light, he asks a great question. “How long will it take?” Continue reading
MLK was an amazing man of God. You never know what your last words will be. I’m sure he didn’t. Like him, they were great.
King’s last words on the balcony prior to his assassination were spoken to musician Ben Branch, who was scheduled to perform that night at an event King was attending:
“Ben, make sure you play ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’ in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty.”
Then, at 6:01 p.m., April 4, 1968, a shot rang out as King stood on the motel’s second floor balcony. The bullet entered through his right cheek, smashing his jaw, then traveled down his spinal cord before lodging in his shoulder.
There is good. There is evil. Knowing that is essential.
One day Jesus, looking straight into Peter’s eyes, said “Get behind me Satan” (see Matthew 16). Think of that. Now that will stop you short.
There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. ~~Martin Luther King, Jr.
What are we willing to give our lives for?
It is an essential question. The answer is revealing. We may have a list of things. What is on it?
Jesus was clear on the answer. Jesus came to die for us so that we might live.
“If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for he isn’t fit to live.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream” Speech
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
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.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Fear can overtake us. Anxiety challenges our ability and attitude. Some days it is like a flood.
Fear can be held back with a dike. It is the dike of courage and supernatural power given us by the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Peter calls on us to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 ) Knowing that God is in a good mood is the foundation of the dike of courage. God cares for me personally. The great Pastor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that foundation.
We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear. ~~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Jesus clearly has a different way. MLK understood it. The right thing to do is love. Now that is hard to do under normal circumstances but with our enemies?
Jesus is clear. Jesus challenges us in a radical way. This is not what we want to do and it is not the way of the world. It is seen as weak and ridiculous.
Yes, Jesus is challenging us.
Jesus said (Matthew 5:43-44) “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves,your God-created selves.”
That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
God sees our heart and looks into our soul. God knows our intent.
Jesus challenges to focus on who we are and not what we look like. Jesus said:
“Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character.” ~Jesus (Matthew 7 The Message Bible)
Character is the issue. Just ask King Solomon.
Moral character makes for smooth traveling; an evil life is a hard life. ~~King Solomon (Proverbs 11:5 The Message Bible)
May we focus on our character and nothing else. May the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King be fulfilled.
I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
We shouldn’t have to struggle with this but we do. Now is the time to do what is right. The harvest is ready.
Now is the time to love. Now is the time to love God. Now is the time to love our neighbors. There is no other time but now.
Jesus challenges us proclaim the good news. No need to wait.
What is right? Love is right. The time is right to love.
“The time is always right to do what’s right.” ~~Martin Luther King, Jr.
There is a time to be neutral and impartial.
That doesn’t apply to moral issues. Jesus challenges us to take a stand. We are to be a light to the world. We are to be a clear beacon. We must offer clarity that others are afraid to put forward.
The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
How well am I living?
That is an essential question to be faced everyday.
We all know life is short and there are no guarantees.
There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Technology will not save us. Technology is not the answer to our problems.
God want us to turn to His son Jesus. Jesus is the solution.
Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Peace is not the absence of war. Peace comes from actively pursuing freedom.
We are at peace when we are free.
Jesus reminds us that He is the way to peace.
We must concentrate not merely on the negative expulsion of war but the positive affirmation of peace. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
There is a lot we don’t know. Knowing we don’t know everything is a key to wisdom.
We should take time to ask questions. We should take time to listen. We should have a learning attitude.
Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
It isn’t easy to love and to live together in peace. Jesus never promised that it would be.
God has given us the power of His Holy Spirit to live in peace. It is God’s goal for us. We are all God’s children.
We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
We have laws that are just and we a few that are unjust.
America is built on the premise that we can point that out, organize for change and improve the law.
Martin Luther King is a shining example of how powerful this can be.
Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal. ~~Martin Luther King, Jr.
We need to have character.
We need to know what God wants us to do.
We need to do it.
This applies to us as individuals and as a nation.
We can”t be soft minded. We need to God-minded.
A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
God gives us the truth. Jesus is clear about what God expects.
Jesus challenges us to radical and passionate about God’s mission in our life.
When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
There takes a certain discipline to bring about true change. It isn’t ever easy.
If we want justice, we must couple justice with peace and being connected with everyone as family.
Not easy but no other way. Great men of change, like Martin Luther King, Jr. knew this.
The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
We live in a world of conflict. Many times, our actions, which are motivated by God, can cause a reaction. It could even be violent. We may strike a cord in others.
Are we willing to proceed, even if we must die?
Jesus is clear about how to proceed. We must follow God.
We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. ~~Martin Luther King, Jr.