On this Martin Luther King Day, I’m reflecting today on these four quotes from Dr. King. His words still challenge me today and in our world where hate feels like it is winning over love, Dr. King reminds us to never lose hope.
Here’s Dr. King’s most well-known quote. The power imagery of his vision creates a thirst deep in my soul. The following words have become MORE, not less powerful over the years:
Here’s another quote from Dr. King. Inspired by his strong faith, Dr. King’s following quote wasn’t an aspirational pursuit. As a man mistreated, judged and jailed, these words represent his conviction. In fact, these words show us the secret source of replenishing power that Dr. King tapped into in order for his message to catch fire in individual hearts:
I remember watching the news when nine African-American people were killed in a church in Charleston. I watched a news reporter get choked up as he watched the community publicly express their forgiveness and sing songs of hope. He was stunned. It breaks my heart that people are shocked and amazed that Christians, who should be known for extending forgiveness, would actually forgive – and really mean it.
Is the shock because normal, rationale folk couldn’t see themselves offering such grace? Or, is it because we feel the prick of conviction? If the families of the shooting victims could forgive the murder of their loved ones, then do we have the right to hold onto our anger or our grudges?
When I was in junior high, my father won an award through his bowling league. But, he was denied entry into the building where the award ceremony was being held. He was denied entry because of his skin color. In the days that followed, I remember our phone ringing off the hook. Local authorities, news media and a few phone calls from higher-ups in the government. I don’t remember how the situation resolved, I just remember that my father made the life-giving decision to forgive and move on. While the incident left a mark, he refused to let it take over his life. That moment had a huge impression on my life. I remember my father’s example when I experience racism and prejudice.
Forgiveness allows me to move on and fight forward rather than getting stuck with my fists pounding the same ground.
Dr. King didn’t speak up just because he wanted to be heard. He spoke up so that people could live. There was no hatred in his speech. And for those who may want to highlight his human failings, go right ahead. We can speak up without being perfect. You don’t have to be perfect to stand up for what is right.
What is the cost of your silence? What is the cost of being polite and letting your friends continue to say ignorant, prejudicial or racists things? No one ever makes a difference in this world by keeping silent. A.M. Rosenthal says this: “When something important is going on, silence is a lie.”
When we hate another, we diminish ourselves.
When we judge another, we condemn ourselves.
When we love another, we sustain ourselves.
We’re all in this together. As long as we stand under the banner of the US flag, we share this homeland together. We’re going to rise and fall together.
LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW: Which Dr. King quote inspires you the most?
NEXT STEP: If you’d like to honor Dr. King’s work in our world by learning more about race, grace and the gospel, you can check out my (G)race Project. This is a specially curated page of content that I’ve written about race and the gospel. Click here to check it out.