“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., January 15, 1929 – April 04, 1968
The King family has sacrificed and experienced grief unlike most American families. People often compare the King and Kennedy families. Equally so, both families were devoted to improving the quality of life for Americans. Both experienced excruciating tragedies. As we celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as we think about the tragedies of his family and his assassination, we see the enormity of sacrificial love.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. His brother, A.D. King, mysteriously drowned in a swimming pool. A deranged man shot and killed King’s mother, Mrs. Alberta King, while playing the organ in worship at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta.
Dr. King taught us that when facing tragedies – violence and mischief at the hands of others – it does no good to retaliate with the same tactics used by the enemy. King often said, “If we do an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, we will be a blind and toothless nation.”
King challenged the Black community and the world to drive out darkness with light and hate with love. A man who was stabbed inches from his heart, spat upon, jailed, and routinely harassed by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, encouraged the light to shine through darkness and for us to love and not hate.
As we celebrate what would have been King’s eighty-ninth birthday, we are living in a society and global community that is requiring that we focus on his words of wisdom. These are dark days. We are living in times when it is convenient to hate and make hate known in public ways. We must challenge darkness and hate wherever and whenever they raise their heads.
King challenged darkness and hate with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the principles of Christianity. He saw the Church of Christ as the most viable institution capable to redeeming the soul of America.
I contend that King’s assertions were correct. The Church of Christ remains a viable institution that can continue leading the way out of darkness into light and replacing hatred with love. We can continue to make a difference at home and in our global community.
Let it be our prayer for God to use us in redemptive ways. The soul of America is counting on us to lead the way out of darkness and away from hatred. Amen.