More great quotes from an incredible leader… Martin Luther King Jr.
- Speaking of President John F. Kennedy’s commitment to integration, King said, “John Kennedy did not have the grasp and the comprehension of the depths of the problem at that time, as he later did. He knew that segregation was morally wrong and he certainly intellectually committed himself to integration, but I could see that he didn’t have the emotional involvement then. he had not really been involved enough in and with the problem. He didn’t know too many Negroes personally. He had never really had the personal experience of of knowing the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the Negroes generally and he hadn’t had any experience in the civil rights struggle. So I felt that it was an intellectual commitment.”
- Me thinking here… this grips me because I believe that Christians do the same thing. We often have an intellectual commitment to evangelism and social justice. We believe in it morally but it has not gripped us emotionally. And therefore while we “believe in it” and even applaud when others do it… we do nothing; at least nothing that will inconvenience us or take us to the point of sacrifice.
- King was confronted with the decision to go to Birmingham, Alabama, march with the people and inevitably go to jail OR stay away and raise funds to free those who were in jail as a result of their marching. He recalls, “I sat in the midst of the deepest quiet I have ever felt, with two dozen others in the room. There comes a time in the atmosphere of leadership when a man surrounded by loyal friends and allies realizes he has come face-to-face with himself and with ruthless reality. I was alone in that crowded room. I walked to another room in the back of the suite, and I stood in the center of the floor. I thought I was standing at the center of all that my life had brought me to be. I thought of the twenty-four people, waiting in the next room. I thought of the three hundred, waiting in the prison. I thought of the Birmingham Negro community, waiting. Then my tortured mind leaped beyond the Gaston Motel, past the city jail, past the city and state lines, and I thought of the twenty million black people who dreamed that someday they might be able to cross the Red Sea of injustice and find their way into the promised land of integration and freedom. there was no more room for doubt. I whispered to myself, ‘I must go.’ The doubt, the fear, the hesitation was gone. I pulled off my shirt and pants, got into work clothes, and went back to the other room. ‘Friends,’ I said, ‘I’ve made my decision. I have to make a faith act. I don’t know what will happen or what the outcome will be. I don’t know where the money will come from.” And with that he strode forward to prison and freedom!
- Crazy enough, King’s friend, Harry Belafonte was able to raise $50,000 for bail bonds! After raising these funds he sent a message to MLK letting him know that whatever other funds he needed, he (Harry) would raise! Leader, follow your heart and the rest will follow.
- “Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”