A Lesson from MLK
By Patriece Johnson, AFAM Leadership Team
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
Putting to death the “me, myself and I” mentality is one of our greatest challenges as we strive to live and love like Jesus. Dr. King put it best in the quote above. The longer we live, the more comfortable and content we become with our personal opinions, traditions, and values. In one sense, being grounded in this way can be seen as a sign of maturity. On the contrary, being set in our ways can become a snare that prevents us from seeing God’s Kingdom and His people as we should.
When I think about the Civil Rights era and the ministry of MLK, I am always amazed at how so many Christian leaders remained silent and indifferent as great injustices were happening “right across the railroad tracks.” It is easy to dismiss the bigger picture of the Kingdom when I am blinded by my so called truth. Unfortunately, the attitude of “they are not my concern” during this time in history has had generational ramifications that are still impacting us today.
During Jesus’ three years of pouring into the twelve disciples, He was intentional about helping them see beyond the limitations of their deep Jewish culture. Jesus needed to pass on a vision that could reach the next generation and every nation! The Book of Acts is a beautiful testament of how once narrow-minded apostles allowed the Spirit of God to transform their concerns from Jews to Gentiles and from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. Just like the twelve, we all need Jesus to help us to look outside of ourselves so that we can see people and His Kingdom through His eyes (see John 17:20-23).
This prophetic word from Martin Luther King Jr. is at the heart of Jesus and a critical reminder for us as Navigators as we trust God with our vision to make disciples of all nations. Our “narrow confines” are real, destructive, and can have generational repercussions. By the grace of God I am striving to confess and surrender my small and selfish thinking at the feet of Jesus as He exposes them.
Friends, as Paul exhorted, it is best that we do not view ourselves and our ways higher than we ought (Romans 12:3). Our best option is to accept that individually we are greatly limited and are in desperate need of Jesus and others to help us see the bigger picture of God’s Kingdom.
What are the “narrow confines” that prevent you from loving and living like Jesus?