This podcast is directed to all young people, but primarily to young black men, young black women, and their parents. We are thankful for all the people who are standing up for justice and racial equality. But this podcast is about the man in the mirror. What are you doing for the glory of God, to make life better for others, for your family, and for yourself? This podcast is about living life in such a way that it cuts back on the chance of being harassed or killed by the authorities or anyone else and helps you to live the good life of peace and joy.
Psalm 119:9 says, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”
Jim Rohn said, “You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.”
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
Last week, especially in light of the violence and rioting in Baltimore, we began looking at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s six principles of nonviolence. As you will see, these principles are not just guidelines for protest, but they also apply to how we live our lives in general and how we approach the various conflicts that we face with others. As President Obama said in his comments on the situation in Baltimore, what we saw there is nothing new and it is something that we will likely see again. Thus, we and others in our community, will have more opportunities to put these principles of nonviolence into practice.
The first of Dr. King’s principles is: “Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. It is active nonviolent resistance to evil. It is assertive spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.”
The second principle states: “Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding. The end result of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation. The purpose of nonviolence is the creation of the Beloved Community.”
Throughout the unrest over the past couple of years stemming from the deaths of black men at the hands of police, we have seen increased division in our society: blacks vs. whites, the community vs. the police, civilians vs. the government and the justice system, and conservatives vs. liberals. Thankfully, there are some — especially within the Christian community — who are striving for reconciliation between blacks and whites as well as striving for law enforcement and the government to take a more compassionate approach when dealing with minority communities. However, what certainly does not help the situation is violence, rioting, looting, and making threats against police officers.
The principles of nonviolence tell us that the purpose of protests is to win friendship and understanding. Instead of seeing whites, the government, or the police force as the enemy, we should see them as potential allies. In the life of David, we see the importance of making those who could potentially be your enemies, into your friends. When David was introduced to King Saul, he did everything he could to please the king of Israel: he fought and killed Goliath, he put his life at risk during later battles with Israel’s enemies, he married one of Saul’s daughters, he played his harp for Saul in order to sooth his spirit, among other things. However, once Saul found out that David had been anointed as the next king, Saul declared open war on David. He had his army out hunting David down like a criminal even though David had done him no wrong. David, however, still pursued friendship with the house of Saul. He made friends with Saul’s son, Jonathan, and that friendship served him well in keeping him alive while Saul was out to kill him. Later, when Saul and his sons were killed in battle, David ensured that Saul and his sons were given a proper burial. When David became king, he befriended the grandson of Saul instead of killing him to ensure that he would not be a threat to his own power as was the custom during that time.
In the fight for fairness and justice in American society, we ought to strive to get the powers that be on our side. View them as potential allies, not enemies. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”
Redemption and reconciliation are the hallmarks of overcoming division. Biblically, redemption is salvation or deliverance from sin. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He paid for the sins of all mankind — black people, white people, and people of all ethnicities and races — through the shedding of His blood. Many on both sides of the police violence debate are Christians. All of our sins are under the blood of Christ. If Christ can forgive us, we ought to start forgiving each other.
The Bible describes all mankind as at one time “enemies of God” because of our sins. However, Romans 5:10 says, “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” Jesus Christ reconciled us to God, so that we no longer are His enemies. Second Corinthians 5:18 says God “hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” This “ministry of reconciliation” is a duty that all Christians have to spread the message that every person can be reconciled to God. Reconciliation is the forming or restoration of friendly relations between two parties.
Certainly, if God is in the business of reconciling people to himself, one way we can demonstrate God’s spirit is to be about the business of reconciling people with each other. In the ongoing struggle for fairness, justice, and equality, we must not have an “us vs. them” mentality. Rather, we ought to be striving together for the same goals.
The “Beloved Community”, as spoken of by Dr. King, was a term first coined by the philosopher-theologian Josiah Royce, who founded the Fellowship of Reconciliation. According to the King Center, Dr. King saw the Beloved Community as “a realistic, achievable goal that could be attained by a critical mass of people committed to and trained in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence.” One of the hallmarks of this community is agape love for all people — including those seeking to divide and sow the seeds of racism and injustice. King defined agape love as “overflowing love which is purely spontaneous, unmotivated, groundless and creative… [It is] the love of God operating in the human heart.” He also said, “Agape does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people…It begins by loving others for their sakes” and “makes no distinction between a friend and enemy; it is directed toward both… Agape is love seeking to preserve and create community.”
In his victory speech after the desegregation of the seats on Montgomery’s buses, Dr. King said, “The end [of the Civil Rights movement] is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the Beloved Community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opponents into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.” In another speech, King said, “The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community. The aftermath of nonviolence is redemption. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation. The aftermath of violence is emptiness and bitterness.”
In reality, Dr. King did not view the Civil Rights movement as just for black people. He wanted all people to be treated justly and fairly which is why he advocated nonviolence and love for all. In a 1963 sermon he said, “With every ounce of our energy we must continue to rid this nation of the incubus of segregation. But we shall not in the process relinquish our privilege and our obligation to love. While abhorring segregation, we shall love the segregationist. This is the only way to create the beloved community.”
Although because of man’s sinfulness, we may never reach a perfect utopia or the “beloved community” on this earth, it is a worthy goal to strive for. And the way we strive for it is not through violence, but through redemption, reconciliation, and love for all.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, we will look at Dr. King’s third principle of nonviolence in our next episode.
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Now, in closing, in order to be saved — in order to get right with God — you cannot look at the man in the mirror, but the Man Christ Jesus. First Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, here is how.
John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can have a home in Heaven. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University School of Divinity. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.