I was going to say something Monday Jan. 15 on Dr. King's birthday (I like being born on the same day he was) but I didn't get around to it. There are people that have come along and have said and done very great things. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of them.
Words of truth are timeless. You can find things spoken years ago that still ring as true today as they did back when they were spoken. Maybe they even ring more true years later. Why does history spell out the sad fact that it takes us way too long to wake up and see it? Why is it so hard to speak up in the moment? Why does it always seem that the majority stay comfortably numb or at least indifferent, stuck in the status quo?
I would encourage anyone to read the letters and speeches of Dr. King. So many of the things he wrote, you could change the names and events and they would fit today's situation just as well as they did when he was addressing the injustices of his day. God's truth in Dr. King's day is still God's truth for today.
When Silence Is Betrayal
Martin Luther King, Jr., at Riverside Church, New York, April 4, 1967
1. "A time comes when silence is betrayal. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men [sic] do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty. But we must move on.
2. "Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. For we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.
3. "We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation, for those it calls "enemy," for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.
4. "I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
5. "A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, ‘This way of settling differences is not just.’ A nation that continues year and year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
6. "America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing except a tragic death wish to prevent us from reordering our priorities over the pursuit of war.
7. "This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. We can no longer afford to worship the God of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate.
8. "We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation. We must move past indecision to action. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight…”
This is God's justice, we need to rescue it from the distortion it suffers under today as being seen as punishment.
"Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow". (Isaiah 1:17)
"This is what the LORD says: "`Administer justice every morning; rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed" (Jeremiah 21:12)
"This is what the LORD Almighty says: `Administer true justice: show mercy and compassion to one another. (Zechariah 7:9)
"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice".( Isaiah 30:18
I have posted this here before but it deserves to be revisited over and over:
"Martens did a masterful job of defining the Hebrew word for justice, mishpat. In western society we have come to understand justice as something we receive (I am a victim, I demand justice) or we dispense (he was convicted and justice was served). But mishpat could best be defined as "honorable relations." Justice is something that we do in relationship with others. It is active not passive. The goal is shalom -- not merely the absence of conflict, but the presence of harmony in relationships. What might a country look like if it practiced this kind of justice?"