I have been thinking for several days now about the theme of this article. This week, we honor the memory of a major pioneer in civil rights, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. So a portion of this article will pertain to Dr. King.
I have great respect for this man. I respect the fact that he wanted to peacefully make a change for the better for our African-American brothers and thus for all people who were oppressed. When I was a child, I grew up in a world where race dictated where you stood as a person. This is true of most people my age. It was the way my family was brought up and therefore, the way I was being brought up. I will tell you now that I didn’t understand it then and I am truly embarrassed by it now. I was told things like female African-Americans were women and not ladies. I was taught a double standard. I remember the signs in restaurants which said “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” as if that wasn’t obvious.
Dr. King took a stand against this. Many people called any African-American who behaved in this way “uppity.” But he and others of his race still took a stand in the face of being jailed, shot with fire hoses, and even bombed. But he still pursued his goal of equality for everyone. One of my favorite quotes of Dr. King is, “faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” I have found that comforting. He lived by this. He took those steps and made a difference for his race and others besides.
But there is another part of this article. Dr. King is a fine example of doing what is right in the face of hardship. And there are certainly others who have done the same. We see this from scripture (Paul, for instance) and throughout history. And the thing that we take away from this is because these people stood up and suffered for what they believed, our lives have been changed for the better.
Is there something that you have really wanted to do to make a change for the better in your family, in our town, in our state? How much are you willing to sacrifice for it to happen? There’s a hymn whose first verse says, “I the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard my people cry. All who dwell in dark and sin my hand will save. I who made the stars of night, I will make their darkness bright. Who will bear my light to them? Whom shall I send?” I wonder how many of us can honestly answer this question. What would our answer be?
I look forward to seeing you all on Sunday.