Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that - Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King did not only say these words — he lived these words. He lived a life of purpose, sacrifice, and example, shining the light and love of Jesus into some very dark places. He believed all men and women are created by God and in the image of God, and he believed that standing up for the oppressed was worth dying for. Dr. King was one of America’s greatest Pacesetters. His example is still worth following today. This is why our country, our city, and our school celebrate his life with a national holiday. This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, here are three ways we can honor the life of Dr. King:
There are so many great resources and events where we can learn about what he did and how his actions helped change our nation. Here are a few videos and a movie that can help you learn more.
- Read Martin’s Big Words,The Life of Martin Luther King Jr. This is a great book for all ages, and you can listen and see it on this video from Teacher Reads on YouTube (It’s appropriate for all ages).
- Watch The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. by Kid President. This YouTube video is great for kids under 10.
- Watch MLK50 Gospel Reflections from the Mountaintop. The Gospel Coalition created this powerful video for a conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of his death in Memphis. (It’s appropriate for all ages.)
- Rent and watch the movie Selma. It is a really good movie. We watched it as a family last year, and it had a large impact on us. The movie has violent scenes, but they are educational enough to be appropriate for those 10 and older. To check to see if this is right for your family, see this review.
- Check out this website for a list of local events in Memphis where you can learn and serve.
- Go to the the civil rights museum on MLK Day they have events for you to learn and volunteer.
I encourage you to listen to “The Power of Unearned Suffering: Celebrating MLK’s Legacy after 50 Years.” This is a talk by Mika Edmonson at the Gospel Coalition’s MLK50 Conference.
This conference and this talk in particular have made big impact on my life.
A few highlights include:
- Learn about how Jesus gave us the pattern of faith and suffering with the cross.
- Take social suffering seriously enough to get involved — weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).
- Understand that love is at the center of what Jesus taught. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
- Take hope seriously enough to stay involved. Living what you believe and suffering with and for others is never easy.
- “The light of the world does not have an expiration date. Only the darkness in the world has an expiration date.”
I am always encouraged by the faith of people who fully live what they believe. Martin Luther King Jr. did this as well as anyone. While he was just an imperfect human being with flaws like any of us, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke often of his hope in the one who was perfect. He knew he could live out his faith because he knew Jesus would one day make all things new. He knew he could talk about light driving our darkness and love driving out hate because he knew the real light and the only one who loves us perfectly.
“Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12.
Have a great Martin Luther King Jr. Day.