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Last week I went and saw the movie “Selma”. It was such a beautiful, yet horrifying story of the movement to end segregation of blacks and whites. My eyes were filled with tears at many different times throughout the movie because I couldn’t even imagine feeling the pain and suffering that these people went through. I am incredibly thankful I didn’t grow up in those times because I don’t think my soul could take seeing the brutal beatings and killings and mockery of people who were just like me…and all just because of the color of their skin. All because white people thought they were entitled to something or had more power just because they were white.

Martin Luther King, Jr. took it upon himself to be used by God to change our nation forever. He led one of the biggest marches and protests that has ever happened in history and changed the way our society views people as a whole. One thing that I noticed in this movie was that King never believed in violence. In the movie, there was even a scene where a black male was looking for a gun because he was so angry and sad that he was watching his friends and family abused and killed. King was absolutely positive that violence was not the answer, though, and told the man that grabbing his gun was not going to solve anything. And he was right. Martin Luther King, Jr. created the start of peace between all races and smoothed out laws (like blacks being able to vote) that seemed so prejudiced and biased. Something that I have been seeking God’s Word for lately was brought up in this movie: violence. For some reason, this has been on my heart to ask God for an answer for what is right and wrong and what I am suppose to believe about certain issues. When it comes to violence and wars and things on the news like Ferguson, what am I as a believer suppose to think about all of this? or even further…as a church, how are we suppose to be the church? The answer is LOVE. Plain and simple. Love our neighbors as ourselves. There are even 393 verses in the Bible that contain or talk about love. To me, it sounds like that is a point that our God wants us to understand. It doesn’t say love our white, hispanic, or islamic neighbor as ourselves. There are no discrepancies with love. MLK changed an entire nation with love. Now, it seems pretty obvious when it’s written down on paper. It is easy to read and understand verses in the Bible like 1 Corinthians 13 and Mark 12:31. However, recently with the whole Ferguson thing and even terrorist attacks in other countries like the one in Paris, I have seen with my eyes the complete opposite of love from my Christian brothers and sisters. I have seen people saying that the black man in Ferguson deserved death. I have seen two men kill people in the name of God in Paris. When it comes to guns, self-defense, wars, fighting, living in FEAR, I am learning that, just like Martin Luther King, Jr. believed, violence is not the answer to peace. God hates violence, so I should too. He hates segregation. For when he created man, he created us to live in peace and flourish and to fill the land. How is it that we have turned into a nation and world so full of hatred, lies, selfishness, sin, and pain? I have a dream just like Martin Luther King, Jr. that the world would understand what God tries to tell us in the Bible…

…”that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”

How do we read “Do not murder” and still support our brothers and sisters killing and fighting with one another under self defense or pride? How do we say “they got what they deserve because they did wrong” when don’t we ALL commit wrong every single day? What if we got what we deserve? In fact, we all deserve hell… But because Jesus was SO amazingly gracious, He laid down his life and covered every sin we have committed and will ever commit in our lifetime! That is amazing grace. So the way we respond to this amazing grace is to show love to our brothers because we are all the SAME. God created us equal.

“Philippians 2:1-3 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the SAME mind, having the SAME love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

I encourage all of us today on MLK Day to remember what our country has gone through as regards to segregation and pray that God would help us move forward as a church to love others well, regardless of the color of their skin.