Every year during the month of January, schools everywhere shift their social studies and history lessons to include that of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Before COVID, there were special school-wide assemblies and songs and even speech contests for children to proclaim the famous words, “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I’m free at last!”
Because we all know that Rev. King was a minister and Bible scholar, it should be no surprise to us that a lot of his thoughts and actions are based on Biblical principles. From non-violence to pursuing peace to seeking knowledge and wisdom, it’s safe to say that this man knew Scripture.
And he knew it well.
In his book, Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Dr. King implores us to fight injustice and explains the basic civil rights we have as humans. He mentions that because injustice was prevalent in society, he must follow the lead of the Apostle Paul and other early Christians and do something.
To do something, he adds, is to protest non-violently, to pursue peace, and to fight racial injustice in an organized, yet direct manner.
If you think about it, Dr. King was a really smart man. What’s even more intriguing is that he allowed the Holy Spirit to lead him and direct his path as a spokesman for Civil Rights. His response to the bombings, lynchings, and police brutality could have been nothing but God in his life. If his humanity had taken over, many situations could have ended up in more of a blood bath than they already were.
The question for us then becomes, how can we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and redirect ourselves when our humanity feels we’ve been wronged, hurt, betrayed, and victimized?
Because I promise you if Dr. King can do it, so can we.
It will require a mind shift. And our ability to surrender to God. I know it’s hard. So I’ll say it again.
If Dr. King can do it, so can we.
Whenever I realize that my humanity won’t allow me to embrace something, I should probably go to the word of God. Isn’t it funny how the Bible is just full of encouragement, correction, and conviction? Low and behold, I kind of saw what Dr. King may have seen. Especially when it comes to race relations and injustice.
And today, this week, this month, this year…we can’t pretend like we STILL don’t have a problem with racial injustice in this country. For that reason alone, we are called to do something about it. According to Scripture, here’s how we start with the wisdom that only the word of God can give us.
All scriptures are from the NASB translation and are linked to the free, online Bible and resource, Bible Gateway.
This is not who we are supposed to be.
Among them we too all previously lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the rest.
We are not supposed to be living in our flesh and giving in to actions that reflect prejudice, anger, resentment, and revenge. That’s not what God intended when He created mankind. Thinking negative thoughts leads to performing negative unholy and inhumane actions.
Lay down our privilege.
He who strikes someone so that he dies shall certainly be put to death.
If we feel privileged, if we experience privilege, and if the reality is we are privileged, we need to lay that privilege down. If we have any kind of unfair advantage because of our race or socio-economic status, using that advantage unfairly will come with consequences. Furthermore, those with privilege who don’t misuse said privilege yet idly watch their peers commit heinous acts are just as guilty.
Hear a just cause, Lord, give Your attention to my cry;
Listen to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips.
When we pray about issues of injustice, we are not to stop there. We should pray that these injustices cease, with even more prayers for additional clarity on the specific role God wants us to perform in the quest for civil rights. Remember, the goal is to educate others, seek peace, and ask the Lord to prick the minds and hearts of those who are living unjustly.
Be ambassadors for Christ.
Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.
In everything we do, we represent Christ. Even when we’re alone and no one can see us. God sees and expects holy living. This goes for both the oppressor and the oppressed. We are to think the thoughts of Christ, speak the language of Christ, and carry out the will of Christ as in love.
One of the most important things I’ve learned when I reflect on Dr. King’s teachings and study them alongside the Bible is that we are all equal in God’s eyes, and because of the equality He gives us, we should be willing to treat others equality. Not doing so is, simply put, sin.