A King Day Challenge

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Dr. king saw the “mountaintop” where it is possible for us to get along.

By Bobby Scott, Headmaster

At our August campus meeting, we focused on the necessity of being in covenant relationship centered on the example of Jesus, who was willing to empty Himself of all rights, all power, all dignity, and all worldly majesty to be in a very one-sided friendship with each of us.

Jesus’ PURSUIT of reconciliation

While being despised for His goodness and honesty, Jesus emptied Himself to pursue reconciliation. He came here as Emmanuel to do so. Unlike others who take risks, He knew how it would end - in suffering and glory.

As followers of Christs, we have humbly admitted our total unworthiness to embrace His mercy, desperately grabbed hold of Him alone, and trusted that He will not let us go.

Then why, even among Christians, is there strife? 

Dr. King’s pursuit of reconciliation

It is fitting that our next major holiday is the day to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In Dr. King, we have a person who likewise pursued a reconciliation – the reconciliation of white and black persons. Like his Savior, Dr. King had disciples who often discouraged his risky pursuit of that dream, and like his Savior, he stayed his course relentlessly to death.

OUr pursuit of reconciliation

Another great need of reconciliation today often hits closer to home. It can emerge in our homes in rifts and misunderstandings in immediate and extended families, between neighbors, and in relationships where politics, theology, lifestyles, and priorities differ.

Are these crises related? There seem to be some basic principles that can help heal these states of estrangement: 

  • Reconciliation requires pursuit. Licking our wounds and self-pity will not heal deep hurt or prejudice. Waiting for others to make the first move only allows more bitterness to take root.

  • Make ourselves present. Spending time with those who we don’t really understand may not totally bridge a divide, but it is a start. Build a friendship with a family that is totally different from us. Set aside agendas and start just getting to know those around you (even your spouse) better.

  • Empty ourselves. Be willing to enter the world of our “enemies.” Walking in their shoes, listening to their perspective, or giving up a preferred way of doing things might be a second step. Watching a Hallmark movie with a neighbor or taking a homeless person to lunch won’t kill us!

  • Surrender our concern about what others think. There is still a lot of concern among people that there is a line we cannot cross in peace-making with others who are different from us. Old traditions don’t die easily. We think we are not responsible for and did not inherit the sins of our forefathers. Jesus knew all along that Judas would betray Him, but He loved him till the end. The story of the Samaritan will never die. He even forgave a braggart named Peter who shouted loyalty, but put himself on the side of those who spat in His face.  Even investment in the life of another does not guarantee we will not be betrayed. The Prince of Peace chose to heal rather than humiliate.

  • Remain non-violent and forgive. Years ago, while being heckled at a Right to Life March, I was mumbling abusive words and was close to aggressive actions. And in my home, my anger at my wife can at times slowly grow until I futilely need to shove hurtful words back in my mouth. I am so grateful that Jesus did not let attitudes and words push Him past a limit to His mercy and love for me.

  • Pray fervently for a breakthrough. God can open eyes and destroy deep resentments!

May a heart of gratitude grow for our Savior, who did not slip a smidgen in His reconciliation, thus preserving our redemption. And may we also grow in admiration for a man like Dr. King, who courageously gave his life pursuing a level of change where people of all races could embrace our Savior with equal dignity and learn to love one another. Dr. King saw “the mountaintop” where it is possible for us all to get along perfectly.