On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made the ultimate sacrifice of giving his life for the cause of justice and freedom for all people in America and around the world. He often described his aim as the creation of the “beloved community.”
Dr. King had traveled to Memphis, Tenn., to seek just wages for the garbage collectors of that city. Although he had earned a PhD., the highest educational attainment one can achieve, and although his profession afforded him recognition in the middle socioeconomic class of America, Dr. King did not consider himself too high above his neighbors to walk alongside “the least of these.”
What lessons can we learn from this man of God?
First, we learn that his focus was justice for ALL people.
Second, we learn that his purpose was to do God’s will—to create the “beloved community.”
Third, we learn that he had a plan based on the “Six Principles of Nonviolence” and the “Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change.”
Fourth, we learn from him the virtue of patience—he marched, he strategized. He was not satisfied with short-term achievements; he was looking for long-term creation of the “beloved community.”
Fifth, we learn from his persistence. He kept coming back, even until his death. The evening before his assassination, he delivered the speech in which he stated, “I have been to the mountaintop and I have seen the promised land (the beloved community.) I may not get there with you, but one day we as a people will get there!”
I pray that we who are committed to the Courageous Conversations movement will learn and apply these lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
To God be the glory!