WE MUST STAND FOR JUSTICE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
Over the past couple of weeks, I have shared excerpts from a letter and speech of Dr. Martin Luther King (Letter from the Birmingham Jail, and National Labor Leadership Assembly for Peace in 1967). I have shared these excerpts from Dr. King to encourage and motivate us to be Women of God (Women of Virtue) and Men of God (Men of Valor) who are active participants for the Kingdom of God as we serve in our community. Following are significant highlights of the excerpts that I have shared:
There was a time when the church was very powerful – in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society. (Letter From the Birmingham Jail)
And I had to answer by looking that person into the eye, and say “I’m sorry sir but you don’t know me. I’m not a consensus leader.” I do not determine what is right and wrong by looking at the budget of my organization or by taking a Gallup poll of the majority opinion. Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. (National Labor Leadership Assembly for Peace in 1967)
In continuation of Dr. King’s rejection of consensus leadership in his speech at the National Labor Leadership Assembly, he concluded with the following:
On some positions cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience asks the question, is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.
For each of us, there comes a time when we must stand and speak up for what is right and speak out against what is wrong. Far too many “Go along to get along” and “Keep quiet to keep the peace.” Understand that when a person “Goes along to get along” they are often going along with what is wrong. Alternatively, Jesus determined the direction for which everyone should be going – that is, the way of and to the Father. Going along to get along is not being a thermostat; nor a molder of consensus
Additionally, when a person “Keeps quiet to keep the peace” they are often keeping the truth from prevailing. Alternatively, Jesus spoke truth. In fact, Jesus shared in John 8:32, And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Keeping quiet to keep the peace is not being a thermostat; nor a molder of consensus.
We are called to be God’s representatives in this world clearly understanding that what we do, even for the least of these, we are doing for Jesus. What are you doing to be a thermostat? What are you doing to be a molder of consensus? What are you doing to do more than listen to people complain about the situation, then pacify them in feeling comfortable remaining in it? What are you doing to press others to go beyond their previously established boundaries and stretch themselves to accomplish things they never thought attainable? When was the last time that you considered the benefit to others as you made a decision?
In Dr. King’s final speech, he encouraged and motivated us to be active participants for the Kingdom of God through the story of the Good Samaritan:
And you know, it’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking. And he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the priest asked — the first question that the Levite asked was, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?“ (I’ve Been To The Mountaintop)