The quotes from Dr. King that that have most influenced me


MLK 1

Today the nation honors and remembers the legacy of Dr. King, and rightly so. He stood for the best of humanity, and stirred the conscience of millions. Here are some of the quotes from him that have had a tremendous impact on me:

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“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.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

MLK Time mag

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.”

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.”

“We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

And finally, his words from a Birmingham Jail. Someday I need to write a blog about how this shaped my journey as a white male that felt called to pursue the ministries of reconciliation and justice. But for now, I will let the quote speak for itself:

“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate.  I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the white Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate… who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom… Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.  Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection…

Perhaps I was too optimistic; perhaps I expected too much.  I suppose I should have realized that few members of the oppressor race can understand the deep groans and passionate yearnings of the oppressed race, and still fewer have the vision to see that injustice must be rooted out by strong, persistent and determined action.”

How about you? Which quotes from Dr. King have most shaped you?

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