This month marks fifty years since the assassination of Martin Luther King. King is revered â€“ rightly so â€“ even fifty years after his death, not just because of what he achieved himself, but also because of what he inspired others to achieve.
â€˜Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.â€™
King espoused non-violent resistance. Whatever the provocation, he wasnâ€™t afraid to confront injustice, but never responded to hate with hate or violence with violence. We can learn from this. Letâ€™s be unflinching in speaking out and taking action against oppression â€“ especially the oppression of children â€“ but letâ€™s do it with genuine compassion for our opponents.
â€˜With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hopeâ€™.
Kingâ€™s work was long, punishing and often thankless. Itâ€™s easy to lose hope when faced with overwhelming injustice, but he never despaired and never gave up. It would be easy for us, too, to be discouraged by an issue as seemingly-intractable as child witch accusations (for example), but it truly can change if we trust God and persevere. Indeed, it already is changing.
â€˜I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountainâ€¦ And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. Butâ€¦ we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.â€™
Kingâ€™s vision was long-term. He didnâ€™t waver in his belief that this vision would come about, but he accepted that he himself might not see its fulfilment. May we have that same humility. Perhaps we will never see the full harvest from BCTâ€™s work for ourselves. But whoâ€™s to say it wonâ€™t come in fifty yearsâ€™ time?
May it be said of us, too, that we showed compassion for all people, even those who opposed us; that we persevered, even when the work was unforgiving; and that we trusted God for an abundant harvest, even if we donâ€™t live to see it ourselves. And may we inspire other people to do the same.