A lesson from Dr. King

Published 5:01 pm Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Since we have just observed his birthday as a nation on Jan. 21, I want to write on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and our continuing need to hear and heed his message. In my opinion, the late King was one of those who stood in the gap and represented hope, justice, courage and direction to our nation, indeed, to all nations.

So much was set in motion by King’s dream that it has constituted an unending reformation. And King did it with a philosophy of non-violence. God knows we need people who are willing to stand in the gap and represent the power of good in the midst of evil-to represent non-violence in a world bent on its own destruction-and to represent God’s reign of love and justice and forgiveness in a world of negativism and cruelty and un-forgiveness.

The story is told that when Dr. King was just a youngster growing up in Atlanta he played every day with two little white boys who lived on the same street.

Young King never could understand why he was not permitted to attend the same school as his two white friends. He never did come to understand why, not even when he became an adult.

On the afternoon of 1934 when 6-year-old King brought his concern, his mother tried to explain segregation with all its de-humanizing ramifications. Mrs. King then told her son firmly, “You are as good as anyone, and don’t you ever forget it.” And King never did.

After his marriage to Coretta Scott in 1953 and the completion of his residency requirements for his doctorate in the summer of 1954, King accepted a call to become pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. During that time, he was also involved in the black community but not necessarily in a vocal way. However, in 1955, everything changed.

As you recall, in that year, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a city bus. In response, King led the Montgomery bus boycott. The result was he was arrested and his house bombed.

Convinced that “injustice anywhere is a threat to injustice everywhere,” he devoted the rest of his life to the cause of “civil rights.”

Many people suffer tragically because of these “unconverted areas” of their lives.

As we recall King’s vision of justice and equality, of non-violence and compassion, of dignity and respect, and of character and excellence, we are inspired and strengthened to represent the higher purpose.