Today, if Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was alive, he would be celebrating his 84th birthday. But, as we all know, Dr. King was slain at the tender age of 39 in 1968. He never lived to even be middle aged.
Despite this fact, no one can deny that he accomplished a great deal in the less than four decades he walked on this earth. Examining Dr. King’s life can help us all in living a new life today. Here are just a few thoughts that came to mind for me:
1. Don’t Procrastinate.
We never know how long we have on this earth. When we put off what we could accomplish today for tomorrow, we may not ever get it done. Tomorrow is not promised to us. Who knows what significant contributions to our society that many of us could have made, if it were not for procrastination.
2. Even imperfect people can be used by God to make a difference.
Often times many of us don’t stand and protest about a situation or condition in our society because of our imperfect lives. We believe that in order to be viewed as a leader, we must have perfect, unblemished pasts. But, if we review history closely, we will see that is not necessary. Despite rumors of infidelity, there is no doubt that Dr. King was one of the major civil rights leaders in American history. He did not let his imperfections prevent him for contributing to society.
3. Someone will always criticize you.
Let us not forget that even Jesus Christ was criticized, ostracized, and crucified. Despite Dr. King’s contributions to civil rights, even to this day there are people who disagree with his tactics, strategies, and approach. There are some African Americans who believe his support of “nonviolence” was stupid. They could not grasp the “turn the cheek” philosophy. Instead these individuals embraced the “eye for an eye,” “By any means necessary,” Malcolm X philosophy. And there are others, including the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nation, and other racist organizations that believe that blacks and others don’t deserve equal rights.
If Dr. King let his critics control his actions, I doubt he would have participated in the March on Washington, or spoken out against the Vietnam War, or would have traveled to Memphis to help the sanitation workers’ union.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Regardless of what we have accomplished to help others in our society, as long as we are still in the land of the living, we still have an opportunity to make a difference. Let us make a commitment today to ourselves to contribute to society. We may not get a holiday in our name, but we can still make a positive impact in our families, neighborhoods, and communities.