Today is Martin Luther King day and I’m proud to say that MLK has become one of my leadership heroes.
First, the way he applied his Christian faith and the scriptures to the plight of the African-American in our country. King used what was good and right to move our country a little closer towards goodness and righteousness.
Second, his belief in, and practice of, non-violence. Inspired by Gandhi’s action against British rule in India and the teachings of Jesus, Martin Luther King promoted and practiced non-violence. In reality non-violence was slow, frustrating for his followers and seemed to lack results. However, today we see that it was powerful and mind-changing. How callous must you be to not be moved by the marchers on the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama, carrying Bibles and singing hymns as they are swept away by vicious state troopers?
These good people were committed to non-violence and to freedom, largely due to the teaching and leadership of Martin Luther King. The changes they marched for did come about, in Alabama and elsewhere.
Contrast Martin Luther King’s philosophy of leading societal change with the current group we see trying to to the same – ISIS. Islamists have embraced jihad and taken violence into their hearts. Terror is their watchword and the killing of innocents their practice. I cannot think of a group more opposite to the philosophy of MLK and more destined to fail.
As you celebrate MLK day, think of the leadership of this man, and think of what you might do in response. How do we help our brother flourish, regardless of skin tone or religious creed? Remember, another teacher taught us a similar lesson many years ago when he encouraged us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.