One of my all time heroes is Dr. Martin Luther King. Born and raised in a culture where he and other African-Americans were treated as second class citizens, he could have become a much different person than he did. His circumstances could have easily made him bitter and resentful. They could have just as easily forged him into an angry and violent anarchist, lashing out at an unjust and bigoted culture.
He chose peace instead. Especially now, in times of high tension, conflict and uncertainty, we do ourselves, our communities and our nation a disservice if we ignore his wisdom from the past. It is as relevant and dynamic today as it was nearly 50 years ago.
Refuse to Hate
Dr. King said, “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.” In business, in politics and in every facet of our lives, it’s easy to resort to an “us/them” mentality. I catch myself doing it all of the time! I promise, I’m trying to get better, and not let my mouth run ahead of my convictions! Of course we’re going to disagree, sometimes passionately, with others who cross our path. Y0u, and you alone are in charge of your heart. Hate your boss? DON’T. Hate someone who abused a relationship? DON’T. Hate someone of a different color, different religion, different political ideology? DON’T. This counsel is for me as much as anyone. If you’re not good at the biblical admonition to “speak the truth in love,” then either get better, or stop speaking.
Do What’s Right
Dr. King challenged us, “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
Wow… is it really that simple? Do the right thing? The answer is yes, it really is that simple. We do the right thing, not only because it helps others, but because to do anything other wounds our own souls. It was obvious to Dr. King as it is to us that doing the right thing isn’t always easy. Anything worth having never is. DO IT ANYWAY. Another biblical principle is in play here. The Bible teaches that if a man is going to build a house, first he must “count the cost.” The principle of “counting the cost” was not about determining whether or not he could afford it. It was to prepare him for a cost that was inevitable. It laid the groundwork for the challenge to the soul, the potential cost in conflict and peace capital. Count the cost. Prepare yourself. Do what’s right.
Choose Creative Maladjustment
Read this quote: “Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.” Now read it again. What does being “creatively maladjusted” mean to you? I believe it means as we come across those things that are in conflict with our character and values, we purposefully focus our creativity and “holy discontent” on addressing those issues, working for wholeness, peace and progress. Are you a part of the solution when it comes to “human salvation,” in working for the betterment of the world you touch? Be innovative. Look for and create solutions and remedies where no one has looked before. Make a difference. Be creatively maladjusted.
This world… it’s ours. As leaders, let’s spend our passions, our moments and our resources in changing a world that we will be happy to leave to our children and grandchildren!