birmingham jail ,” martin luther king jr H u m a n i t i e s

birmingham jail ,” martin luther king jr H u m a n i t i e s

I look forward to reading your work this week!  Here’s a few things to ponder:  As Christians, how do we view injustice?  And what is our response to it?  We need to begin to ask the questions:  What is the relationship between Christian beliefs vs Government action?  And what measures are there to ensure these are carried out equally?  Martin Luther King Jr. dared to question some strongly held beliefs which resulted in gross injustices for Black Americans.  In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King Jr. acted upon his strong values concerning injustices around him.  He would be assassinated in April five years later in Memphis, TN. 

From a Biblical perspective, look at the Old Testament prophets, especially Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Habakkuk, who warned of judgment.  All were contemporaries who witnessed Jerusalem’s attack in 597 BC and eventual destruction in 586 BC by the Babylonians.  Most, except Jeremiah who was taken to Egypt, were deported to Babylon.  Not only did these prophets warn Judea, but they cried out for each to take personal responsibility for one’s own actions and repent.  When there is no personal and corporate repentance, judgment must fall as it is in the character of God.  Judah sinned against the Lord by worshipping many false gods, and they sinned against each other in the form of institutional injustices, violence, and plundering.  Hab 1:4 responded, “Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted.”   Again a bit earlier when King Jehoshaphat appointed judges (by the way, our Founding Fathers wisely adopted this Biblical practice of giving the authority to appoint judges to the President), he admonished them to “let the fear of the Lord be upon you.  Judge carefully, for with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery” (2Chron 19:7).  

So what does this mean for us, the Church, today?  It’s easy to point the finger at others, but Scripture again tells us to examine our own hearts.  Judgment begins in the house of the Lord, according to 1 Pet 4:17 and Ezek 9:6.  What do we need to clean up inside each of us?  And what injustices around us need to be changed?  We are all made in God’s image who sees us equally, so let’s honor one another.