Saturday, January 19, 2008

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jesus said that his followers are to be salt and light in the world. Jesus told his disciples (Matthew 5:13a, 14a, NLT): “You are the salt of the earth.” and “You are the light of the world.” The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was salt and light in many ways.

A way in which we can be salt is through various outreach ministries and social action to improve quality of life. Displaying God’s compassion and kindness by our actions is a good and appropriate thing for Christians to do. However, the gospel must also be clearly communicated, in addition to social action and public involvement by Christians. Social action has its place, but is temporary. Saving people’s souls lasts for all eternity.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was salt and light to a dark world of hatred and oppression. He communicated the gospel in his preaching as well as in his actions, shining the light of Jesus to all who would hear. At the same time, he struggled to reduce oppression, to have justice for all citizens, and to provide equal opportunities regardless of race. Yet he did this without encouraging violent protests, rioting, or any means that would bring shame to Jesus Christ, whom he served. Dr. King was salt of the earth because he was acting as a preservative to reduce the corruption of hatred and bigotry, and he did it in the name of Jesus.

Not everybody is called to activism, but everyone can, in some way, protest against injustice, oppression, and evil. Let us remember these words of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoken in 1958: “He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

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