A Short Reflection on MLK

Some days I don’t leave my house because I speculate other people will annoy me.

I get into moods where I’m frustrated at others’ lack of depth, immaturity, selfishness, or condescension. Today was one of those days.

I recently finished a collection of speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr. Perhaps the hardest to read was his eulogy at the funeral for three of the children killed at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing.

I found his words remarkable, especially when he started talking about Southern whites:

And so I stand here to say this afternoon to all assembled here, that in spite of the darkness of this hour, we must not despair. We must not become bitter, nor must we harbor the desire to retaliate with violence. No, we must not lose faith in our white brothers. Somehow we must believe that the most misguided among them can learn to respect the dignity and the worth of all human personality.

I’ve spent four years learning how to be critical, learning how to recognize bad arguments, bad behavior, and bad living. I’ve spent four years placing people into convenient categories. I’ve spent four years defining myself as “not other people.”

King called that community to love, though. He told them not to lose faith in the enemy.

I don’t have an enemy. I create enemies for the drama.  So how much easier should it be for me to have faith in the people who annoy me?

Picture found here.

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