Martin Luther King Sr., also known as Daddy King, lost his son MLK Jr. to the deranged actions of James Earl Ray. A mere seventy-four months later, King Sr. lost his wife Alberta to the deranged actions of Marcus Chenault.
Two men, one white and one black, chose murder as their means of proclaiming their hatred for beliefs. Ray objected to the pursuit of civil rights for African Americans. Chenault, as a member of Black Hebrew Israelites, hated Christians and viewed them as enemies.
Martin Luther King Sr., an advocate for civil rights and a Christian pastor, lost his son and his wife to men who held contempt for his great passions. We can imagine, therefore, that King Sr. held hatred in his heart toward Ray and Chenault. We would be wrong. Recently I read Sr.'s autobiography. His words speak volumes . . .
People all around the globe of every tribe and tongue hate others for far less tragic things than murders of loved ones. Hate arises far too easily. Arguments over property lines and politics, who is the best NFL quarterback and which is the best cola brand, cats or dogs, and COVID-19 raise blood pressures, divide homes, and end friendships. This should not be.
Perhaps you know them well. Jesus provided a two-pronged summary of our life purpose.
You are not going to engage in the latter very well if you attempt to do so without obeying the former. In addition, you are not going to accomplish the latter if your definition of "neighbor" is narrow. That is not a modern trend only. On a day not much different from today, in regard to the nature of humanity, an "expert in the law (Torah) stood up to test Jesus."
There's the loaded question, a question designed to solicit a loophole. And who is my neighbor? He's asking, in other words, for whom he can continue to hold resentment. Rather than obliging the man and providing a loophole, Jesus tells a story, a story that removed any wiggle room.
Daddy King trusted God to set things right rather than invest any time in the practice of hatred. Referring to the lesson taught by his son to so many about the power of nonviolence, King Sr. wrote, "I love the lesson too much to make room inside myself for the very emotion that killed M.L." (208)
Fill the room inside yourself with love - love for your neighbor. Yes, even that neighbor!
Reference: King, Martin L, and Clayton Riley. Daddy King: An Autobiography. New York: Morrow, 1980. Print.
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