Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream; God had a plan. God had a plan to use an Atlanta preacher to communicate a message to a nation that desperately needed to hear it. That message was not a new one, in fact, the message was the central part of the ministry that Jesus conducted for 3 short, but Earth changing years. On this day in January, when we celebrate the life of a man who irrevocably changed the course of human history in our country, I thought it fitting that I take the time to further the message he gave to the world on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial a little more than half century ago. No, I’m not going to write a message about racial equality , while that was certainly an important part of his marches and definitely a goal of this particular speech, I think if he were here today to talk about the central theme- he would describe it as not just a message about, race, but also a message about love. This is a message that we, as Christians, should be spreading with every chance that we have- a message that should envelop our every day lives as we reflect Christ to those who do not know the awesome gift of salvation only He can provide.
One of the things that breaks my heart for our churches today is that we have slipped into a posture that cares more about the “Thou Shall Nots” than the love, grace, and mercy that our Savior promoted with every breath He took. During the ministry of Jesus, was it not the sinners that Jesus dined with? Was it not those who were poor, destitute, and sick that He cared for? Was it not Jesus that made the lame to walk and the blind to see? Now, I know how important the commandments are, and I know how important it is for Christians to live by that code in their lives so that they are above reproach; but it was Jesus who told us that the greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; and love your neighbors as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39). Somewhere, somehow we lost sight of the love that we were commanded by our Savior to show. I am willing to bet that not one of my readers go to church because Christianity has a lot of cool rules. In fact, I am also willing to bet that each of you go to church because you feel loved there- so much so, that you feel the love of Christ all around you. It is His LOVE for us, that makes us want to LIVE for Him.
So, I ask, How is your Love? How do you see people? You may have heard that you should try and find the good in people, but I challenge you to go a step further and try to find the GOD in people. Don’t forget, each person is fearfully and wonderfully made- a perfect child of Christ, woven and knitted in their mother’s womb. That means all the punk thugs, all the weak, worn, and weary- all the people that have wronged you, lied to you, cheated you, and generally do not care for you- they ALL were made in the image of God. It is not a flaw in the design that has thrown their life down certain courses, but I believe it is a love deficiency. We may think patience is hard, but is patience with someone really that hard when you consider how patient God has been with us? Is extending mercy, grace, and love really that difficult when we consider how much mercy, grace, & love God showed us when He sent His son to die on a cross for OUR SINS?
50+ years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech about a dream- a dream that he had where little children could walk together, play together, and go to school together regardless of the color of their skin. I don’t believe Dr. King saw this only as a race problem, I think he knew that even deeper there was a love problem. Dr. King once said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” While sin is a human condition that is passed down from person to person, and all of us are covered up in it; hate is a cultivated trait of that sin that can be easily overcome by sharing Christ’s message of love- a message which we as Christians have been silent for far too long.
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach