Jan
16
2012

MLK: Justice Is Love in Action

Today our country celebrates the memory of Martin Luther King Jr., who was a peacemaker, someone who could call upon the needs of the hearts of people across many different races, belief systems, and ask them to work together on the common goal of equality. It’s because of his great legacy that I agree with his statement,

“Let us be Christian in all our actions. But I want to tell you this evening that it is not enough for us to talk about love, love is one of the pivotal points of the Christian faith. There is another side called justice. And justice is really love in calculation. Justice is love correcting that which revolts against love.”

There are three things to keep in mind as we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and having a day off work isn’t one of them:

1. Love is a Verb

Love shouldn’t be something we just say to each other. It’s something we do every day by delivering justice to those around us. When children come to the rescue of someone being bullied, they are showing compassion and exercising justice, which is love. When a group chooses to endure harm from authorities because they are peacefully protesting an atrocity like segregation, they are supporting each other for the sake of justice, which is love. Love is something we need to remember to exercise love instead of just talking about it.

2. Justice is costly

Rosa Parks said, “Dr. King didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk from Montgomery to Memphis, enduring jails, beatings, abuse, threats, the bombing of his home, and the highest sacrifice a person can make for a righteous cause.” Getting laws changed isn’t easy, as many people learned in the Civil Rights Movement. We would do well to learn the same, and to refuse to be complacent in our efforts to end today’s injustices. We can take courage in the fact that the Civil Rights Movement was successful in halting the injustice they set out to end.

3. Justice is worth the cost

Those who endure injustice at the hands of others know that justice is worth the cost of revolt. Throughout history, men and women have willingly died for the sake of bringing freedom, equality, justice to the countries they held dear. Civil Rights leader John M. Perkins wrote, “The call to biblical justice in every corner of society must be sounded by those who claim a God of Justice as their Lord.” Therefore we must also make the sound heard: that justice is love in action, and it is worth pursuing.

“But let justice run down like water,
And righteousness like a mighty stream.” –Amos 5:24

  • Sharla

    This is true for Christians and nonChristians alike!

    • Sheila

      It is important that we pursue biblical justice. Non-Christians may have a completely different view of what is just and what isn’t depending on their own moral or behavioural standards. The Bible is our standard, not the differing views of men.
      What is justice to one person may be an infringement of freedom to someone else!

      • Sharla

        I think Christians and nonChristians alike can believe and celebrate MLK’s words. You don’t have to be a Christian to want equal rights for all races!

      • Clara

        The Bible may be your standard, but you still have to live by the judicial rules of the U.S. That’s what MLK was celebrating–a change in the rules that affected his life, and the lives of other US citizens.

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