Monday, January 18, 2010

Dr. King’s Birthday

Unfortunately, when we establish a federal holiday, the underlying reason is often forgotten. Most Americans get very few vacation days during the year, so I suppose it is not surprising that we become more concerned with football games, sales at the malls, and getting to sleep in. I just wanted to take a little time today on this blog to remember Dr. King. There is much that could be said, but I simply want to share two quotes of his:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

The first quote is based on Jesus’s teachings. It means a lot to me and touches me deeply.

The second quote has perhaps more universal appeal. I like it because frankly every one of us lives in times of challenge and controversy. The concepts of “challenge” and “controversy” are relative. We may not all be threatened by the governmental authorities with guns, barking German shepherds and fire hoses. But we may have friends or bosses who want us to do things that go against our values. We may have customers or co-workers who commit demeaning or hostile acts against us. We may encounter crazy motorists who nearly run us off the road. Dr. King reminds us that it is in those times—not in the comfortable ones when we’re resting in a safe, cozy bed—that our truest selves are evident. It is a humbling thought, and one worth remembering as we go about our lives.

Happy birthday, Dr. King!

Luke 6:27-36

"But I say to you who are listening, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who are cruel to you. If anyone slaps you on one cheek, offer him the other cheek, too. If someone takes your coat, do not stop him from taking your shirt. Give to everyone who asks you, and when someone takes something that is yours, don't ask for it back. Do to others what you would want them to do to you. If you love only the people who love you, what praise should you get? Even sinners love the people who love them. If you do good only to those who do good to you, what praise should you get? Even sinners do that! If you lend things to people, always hoping to get something back, what praise should you get? Even sinners lend to other sinners so that they can get back the same amount! But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without hoping to get anything back. Then you will have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High God, because he is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin. Show mercy, just as your Father shows mercy.

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