Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Biblical Truths He Spoke
Written by: Blair Lane
Martin Luther King, Jr. is known for his efforts as a civil rights activist from 1955 to 1968. He argued that God created all men equally and loves them all equally. His opinions and beliefs came from more than just a personal conviction of what is “good” and “right.” Most of his speeches and sermons find their foundations in Scripture.
In this time that is full of confusion over what to believe and who to trust, King’s truths that he drew from the Bible can be an encouragement even today.
The greatest message that King tried to communicate to the world was the importance of love. He said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Over and over again, the Bible emphasizes the importance of love. In Proverbs 10:12, it says, “Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.” Hatred can make life harder than it needs to be. However, choosing to live in love, like King says, helps people to overlook shortcomings and makes life altogether simpler than a life spent focusing on hate.
There will be people with whom we disagree, but they don’t have to be our enemies; King explained, “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy to a friend.” He once preached a sermon about a passage from the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus says, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:43-44).
King pointed out, “It’s significant that he does not say, ‘Like your enemy.’ Like is a sentimental something, an affectionate something. . . But Jesus says love them. And love is greater than like. Love is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men, so that you love everybody, because God loves them.”
God calls us to love everyone—no matter who they are or what they have done. That doesn’t mean we have to accept what they have done, but we should look beyond the surface and continue to love because God has loved us.
In John 1:5, the Bible states, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” This verse is talking about the light that Jesus brought into the world when he was born—a light that He shared with the world through His death and resurrection.
King reflected on this verse and said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
It is futile to fight hate with hate. The only way to bring about change and “light” in the world is to spread love.
This idea of spreading love doesn’t require grand gestures, and it is never too late to love. King said, “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way,” and “The time is always right to do the right thing.”
The Bible says to “Love your neighbor” (Mark 12:31), and that “God so loved the world” (John 3:16). King believed that love could change how people viewed themselves, each other, and the world.
And he’s right. The Greatest Love—God’s love—changed the fate of the world and gives hope to all who will accept it. We should follow King’s example and “choose love” so that we can “drive out hate” through love.
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