Earlier this week, we celebrated the life of the remarkable Martin Luther King Jr. This man was at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement. He was an influential mind, deep heart, and leading lifestyle. Martin Luther King Jr. spent his life fighting for equality for the discriminated minority communities.
Schools and restaurants were separated. Seats were assigned on buses. Communities were divided.
Dr. King lead the charge for the progression of equality among the black community. So much changed. But we aren’t all the way there. We still have work to do. Sure, it’s easier when they live lifestyles similarly to you. When their culture reflects principles of yours, its easier to see them as ‘neighbors.’ Our challenge comes in with those we don’t yet know, whose cultures are different than ours, who are from different schools, cities, states, or nations. How do we as Christians impact this necessary change?
Most of you that will read this partake in the news with by T.V. or through social media. There is still a race problem, among our nation, towns, schools, and churches. Discrimination and prejudice are often grown into individuals lives growing up. Groups are “taught” that some groups or individuals automatically supersede others. I versus you mentality or us versus them mentality fuel racism. But Dr. King gave us a prescription to our illness:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
What does he mean? Something eerily similar to what John tells us in 1 John?
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.”
1 John 2:9-10
When your room is dark, you turn the lights on to see where to go. If you don’t, you scoot your feet across the ground with your hands out until you stub your toe on your bed. “That makes no sense, dude.” Hear me out. If you live a life in darkness (blinded by hate) you have no light to see where to go. Our hate causes us to miss the truth that all are created in God’s image. Each person is a creation of the almighty, each needing grace, but loved by Him.
Christ came to die for all people; red, yellow, black, white. Jesus loves His Father’s creation.
Dr. King was an example of the love Christ taught and lived. He was an example of fighting for justice for what is right. He provided a small light into a world of darkness. His light grew as the movement for equality among American people. His light grew into the hearts and minds of those who sensed something wrong in the world.
Jesus tells us the greatest commandment is to love God with our entire being. The second commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. Love your neighbor, no matter if they’re white or black, native or refugee, Christian or Muslim. When you love God, you are filled with love for those around you.
Racism isn’t an easy topic to discuss. This one term brings a lot of debate, hurt, and confusion. Racism is a real-life problem. It affects lives of children, parents, pastors, teachers, doctors and athletes daily. Do you care for your oppressed brothers and sisters? What are you doing to help light break through the darkness? How is your love driving out darkness? Or are you sitting idly by, denying there’s anything to fix?
Whoever you are, wherever you are, you are in need of the grace and love Jesus has to offer.
New hate will not drive out recurring hate. Only loves demolishes hatred.
Love Jesus. Love your neighbor. Fight the good fight.