“I am coming to feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than the people of goodwill. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people. We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
I have no right to speak words of honor for such a man as Dr. King. When he began to take the national platform for Civil Rights in 1955, I was nine years old. It would be several years before I would begin to have even a slight understanding of the significance of the man and the times we were living. It was during my time in the military, and also in Vietnam, that my life’s eyes were opened to the struggles of all peoples of color and more particularly those of my black brothers and friends during war.
It was not until my return to the States from thirteen months in Vietnam in 1967 that I finally began to notice the severe problems we were having with a nation at unrest. Everything was falling apart; racial unrest; war demonstrations; Hippies; protest music; love-ins; drug culture explosion, and worst of all, three assignations of prominent national figures in approximately five years.
Beloved Americans, 52 years later what have we learned? What have we improved upon in our ability to see our problems and work together to fix them?
Dr. King’s words, which I quoted above, are effectively describing where we are today in America. Good people are silently ignoring the effectiveness of bad people’s use of time and money and confusion. Good people are laughing and mocking the power behind the strategies of the bad. “The bad cannot win”, everyone good assumes.
Among the “good people” is a segment known to be Christian who must carry the shame of their silence and inactivity of biblical mandates. Dr. King was a strong Christian leader who knew the dangers of silence and inactivity in a season of unrest. If all American Christians would adhere to what Jesus said were the greatest commandments, that being to love God with every effort of the whole life, and then to love your neighbor, that being anyone who is not you, as yourself. We are to show love to everyone, and Jesus gets more pointed when He specified that we should love even our enemies and persecutors. Why would our LORD give such strong and difficult words for us to follow?
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
LORD, awaken the American Church to the role she is to play in the world around her, to Your glory and the world’s betterment. In Jesus, Amen!
Church, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” (Ephesians 5:14) Pray On!