Today is a holiday in the U.S. to honor slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As a nation, we honor him for his fight for justice for African-American people who had been oppressed by unjust laws and immoral abuses.
Speaking of justice, I don’t think I could do Dr. King justice by trying to write about all that he sought to and did accomplish through his civil rights work.
I’m sorry to admit that I’m a white man who hasn’t taken the time to truly read about and understand all that Dr. King stood for, and the impact that his words and actions have had on our country – and on other people around the world.
But today, I read Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” written from a Birmingham, Alabama jail cell on April 16, 1963. Dr. King had been arrested for participating in a civil disobedience demonstation and was being criticized for his tactics by white ministers from the community. Dr. King wrote this letter to answer the charges and questions from these critics.
King’s critics asked him why he had come to Birmingham to stir up trouble, so to speak. He replied with a simple answer: “because injustice exists here…and I feel compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own hometown.”
He went on to explain that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
As I read the letter, I was immediately amazed and impressed by the sense of mission that I could feel through his writing. Dr. King was a man who understood the times he lived in. He knew his calling and mission in life. He knew the price he would have to pay in order to fulfill that mission. And he was determined to pay the price.
When I finished reading, I couldn’t help but ask myself:
- Do I really know my mission in life?
- Do I know the price I need to pay in order to accomplish that mission?
- Am I willing to pay the price?
What about you?