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Lord, we pray that the biblical values America was founded upon would prevail, that You would be the center of our country, and that revival would flood this land.

From The Christian Post. Have you ever been reminded unexpectedly of a book from your past that influenced you enormously at an earlier time in your life? Earlier this week I was rearranging the books in my library in order to put some new volumes in their proper place on the shelf when a book caught my eye that has really ministered to me over the years. The book is Strength to Love by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I am not surprised that Mrs. King said that “if there’s one book that Martin … has written that people consistently tell me has changed their lives, it is Strength to Love.” She explained that this book embodied the foundational force behind Dr. King and his ministry — “the transcendent moral ethic of love.”

As I leafed through the book earlier this week, my eyes fell upon one of many passages I had highlighted when I read the book when it was first published in 1963. One underlined passage reads, “Few words in the New Testament more clearly and solemnly express the magnanimity of Jesus’ spirit than that sublime utterance from the cross, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ This is divine love at its best.”

Dr. King points out it was precisely at this point where Jesus was suffering an unjustified, excruciating, agonizing death that he pleaded, “Father, forgive them.” Dr. King then expands on the subject (one notices that Dr. King wrote the way he spoke, with a melodic eloquence that lingers in your mind.) Jesus taught his followers “to love their enemies and to pray for them that despitefully used them. This teaching fell upon the ears of many of His hearers like a strange music from a foreign land.”

Yet when Jesus “was crucified by hate, he responded with aggressive love.” The lesson was crystal clear: “Only goodness can drive out evil and only love can conquer hate.” …


We must see the cross as the magnificent symbol of love conquering hate and of light overcoming darkness. But in the midst of this glowing affirmation, let us never forget that our Lord and Master was nailed to that cross because of human blindness. Those who crucified him knew not what they did (Strength to Love, 46).

Strength to Love was published in 1963, the same tumultuous year that produced “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (which should be required reading in order to graduate from every American High School) and the “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. I had the privilege of reading Strength to Love the year it was published. I was sixteen years old and had just surrendered my life to full-time Gospel ministry in the spring of that year. The book, his letter, and his speech all had an enormous impact on me. I realized at the outset of my call to ministry that it was my Christian duty to work, strive, and sacrifice for my beloved country to become what it was not, a society where people were “not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

I am still transfixed by that dream, and I will not let it go, for myself or for my country. I will not abandon the higher ground of Dr. King’s vision to descend into the fever swamp of division and hostility produced by Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality where everyone is judged by the two immutable characteristics that they cannot control (notwithstanding the claims of transgenderism) — their ethnicity and their sex, both of which were determined at the moment of their conception.

Since I have witnessed and experienced the transformative power of Christian love both personally and in American culture as a child of the Civil Rights Revolution, I am determined to love those who have abandoned, or who oppose, Dr. King’s vision, from the left or the right. I am giving them the benefit of the doubt. I hope and believe “they know not what they do” and have no knowledge of the hatred and growing centrifugal forces of ethnic tribalism their philosophy and beliefs would generate if they were to come to dominate American society.

How are you moved by Dr. King’s life? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

(Excerpt from The Christian Post. Article written by Richard D. Land. Photo credit: UnSplash)

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June 15, 2023

Did Dr. King ever fast for days to obtain Gods grace to forgive his enemies?

Carol Rundell
January 16, 2023

I really enjoyed reading Dr Martin Luther King story on love and Father forgive them for they do not know what they do. In Jesus name amen

Robert Woleben
January 16, 2023

Dr. King’s life, his speeches, and his writings were a testament in history nor equaled over the years. His words were straight from Jesus and filled with feeling. Now CRT has muddied the waters. We need someone of his caliber to visit us again. I’m sure Martin Luther King is in heaven with Jesus,

Joan McKinney
January 16, 2023

I recently reread Dr. King’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail and him I’ve Got a Dream speech. I was overcome with the Godly wisdom in both of those documents. I pray that we as a country will commit his words into our spirits and live out of the wisdom in them.

Kathy Emahiser
January 16, 2023

Father, I ask that you raise up another Martin Luther King to help bridge this divided nation, and let everything he does be motivated by your love working through him. I too agree that that Mr. King’s books on unity and love be a mandate to read in our high schools, followed by essays. In Jesus name, I thank you Father.

Susan S.
January 16, 2023

Alveda, MLK’s niece, continues his legacy. She works tirelessly for prolife causes. It is personal for her. Her mother wanted to abort her but her grandfather talked her mother out of it. Alveda also works for racial reconciliation. We are blessed by her life and work.

Donald Vader
January 16, 2023

Forgive us Father for our sins in America and turning from you… Thank you Father for your mercy as we turn back to you and your covenant with America… We declare your word over America for awakening, transformation and revival in 2023 and we give you thanks and praise… Amen

Jessica (Reynolds) Renshaw
January 17, 2022

I was struck by the sentence, “’Letter from a Birmingham Jail’ (… should be required reading in order to graduate from every American High School).” I agree.

MLK’s life had a powerful impact on our family. My father, scientist Earle L. Reynolds, was sent by our Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to Hiroshima to set up a research project to study the effects of radiation on the 4,800 Japanese children who survived the first nuclear bomb dropped on human beings. What he found out turned him against such weapons.

Our family lived in Hiroshima for 3 years and while there Dad designed and built a yacht. We sailed it around the world. In 1958 when we reached Honolulu, the same AEC was testing nuclear weapons in the Pacific Ocean (and had suppressed my father’s findings so Americans would not object to these nuclear tests.)

We needed to sail across the Pacific to finish our circumnavigation but the AEC had arbitrarily declared 390,000 square miles of open ocean off-limits to American citizens. We ended up sailing as a family INTO the zone on purpose to protest nuclear weapons (I was 14, my brother was 20). The American Coast Guard intercepted us and put Dad under arrest, a destroyer “escorted” us to Kwajalein Atoll, the nearest land, and we were all flown back to Honolulu for Dad’s trial… https://forbiddenvoyage.blogspot.com/

Dr. Martin Luther King visited Honolulu the following year and spoke at my high school (McKinley) on Sept. 16, 1959. Because of our family’s stand for peace and non-violence, I was one of two students invited to go up on stage before his speech, put a lei around his neck and kiss him on the cheek. It remains one of the greatest honors of my life.

Dr. King’s Christian message of love and forgiveness, both in his talks and by his life, are sorely and desperately needed again in this terribly divided nation.


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