Today is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It is a time to remember his role in the struggle for civil rights in America. This past year has been a difficult one for racial relations in America. The bruising political campaign of last year seems to have divided us as a nation even more deeply than before. Millions of Americans are now called racist simply because of the candidate they chose in the presidential election. Our own area was the site of citywide riots after the shooting of a black man last September.
Since Dr. King was black many people think of racism as a black and white issue, but there is increasing racial tension between blacks, whites, and Latinos. No one knows what President Trump will do once he takes office later this week, but many people fear the worst. Some who voted for him hope that he will moderate some of the outrageous claims he made during the campaign.
The divisions are also taking place within the church. Some polls indicate that 81% of white Evangelicals voted for Trump, a fact which has caused factions within the Evangelical movement itself.
Dr. King’s famous “I have a dream” speech stirred a nation, yet so little seems to have changed. Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy lamented that “Everybody thinks of changing humanity, but nobody thinks of changing himself.” Progress in racial reconciliation must come from within our own hearts.
God’s Word is clear that all races are created by God. Acts 17:26 says, “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” Galatians 3:28 states, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Our Lord said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” (John 13:34) Just to leave no question about it He also said “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)
As Christians we must ask God to change our own hearts and to enable us to actively seek to show love to those different from ourselves. As Dr. King said, “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”