At a time when there is so much stress, strain, and strife in the world around us, how can Americans be more like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in early 2022 and well beyond?
Fox News Digital posed that question and more to evangelist Alveda King, founder of the pro-life organization Speak for Life and a niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., during an engaging discussion by phone on Friday evening ahead of the federal holiday on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, which is devoted to honoring her uncle’s memory.
She responded, “I can honestly say to you that my uncle, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., sought to be like Jesus Christ.”
Ask for forgiveness — and forgive others
“Now of course he wasn’t successful,” she added, “because he wasn’t perfect. He was a human being. But my dad [A.D. King], my granddad [Rev. Martin Luther King Sr.], and my uncle — they would all repent. They would ask for forgiveness.”
“And they wanted to learn to forgive others as well.”
Alveda King added, “With that type of attitude, they were able to give us examples, to be examples. And my uncle, Martin Luther King Jr., was a very good example of how God loves us and how God forgives. He really walked in those paths during his lifetime. I was seventeen years old in 1968 when he was killed — the very next year, I was married — and so I [as a young person] had an opportunity to see him live his life.”
She noted that yes, he wrote “great sermons and great books, and he delivered great messages — but he actually did his best to live those examples that he spoke about and wrote about.”
So — try to be more like Jesus Christ. Ask for forgiveness. Forgive others. And be a living example of those tenets in daily life.
And there’s more.
Keep hope alive
Martin Luther King Jr. also talked about hope, she said. He said that people must keep hope alive — that people must have hope, no matter what. “He demonstrated that throughout his life,” she said.
“Today, there is fear, anxiety, and anger,” added Alveda King. “We hear people fighting and challenging each other with all types of statements [about the COVID-19 pandemic and related vaccination issues]. “‘Did you take the shot?’ ‘Did you not take the shot?’ ‘Why did you take the shot?’ ‘Why didn’t you take the shot?'”
She said, by the way, that she believes the Supreme Court made the right decision this past week to strike down the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for private businesses with over 100 employees.
The high court, she said, noted that “we shouldn’t mandate this. We give people information — and we manage it. And I thought that it was a very good decision. And I believe that if my uncle were here at this time, he would ask us to speak out, to talk, and to work things out without the hatred.”
Say, ‘God, help me — God, forgive me’
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. often quoted the Bible — yet Americans tend not to hear about that today. Fox News Digital asked Alveda King if she wanted to comment on that.
“I do want to comment on that. I want to say that he was genuinely contrite when he did things that he felt were not in keeping with his efforts to be more like Christ,” she said.
“He was quick to say, ‘God, help me. God, forgive me.’ I remember reading over and over his sermon, ‘A Knock at Midnight.’ He came in for the night — and he got himself a cup of coffee, and he said to God, ‘You’ve asked me to lead these people, and I don’t think I can do it. It’s too hard — it’s too much.'”
“And he said he heard the voice of Jesus say, ‘Martin Luther, stand up for truth, stand up for justice, and lo, I will never leave you …'”
“And I just thought that was absolutely a testimony of his own faith and of his own weakness that could only be answered by God,” Alveda King continued. “So why don’t we hear more of that today? Because people would rather hear the social message than the gospel message,” she said. “It is easier sometimes to hear that social message.”
Alveda King also shared this point of her uncle’s: “He said that hatred paralyzes life, and that love releases it.”
She added, “He was never pessimistic. He was optimistic.”
He said that “everything happens by hope,” Alveda King went on. “Everything happens by faith, working through love. But faith, hope and love are companions, and you actually need all three.”
“They are related. They are connected.”
Strive to live in harmony with others
How about Dr. Martin Luther King’s oft-quoted line, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” — her thoughts on that?
“I believe that today it’s important for us to grasp and not be colorblind,” she said. “If we say, ‘I don’t see color,’ then we are saying we don’t see ethnicity. We don’t see history. We don’t see everything that was done right and everything that needs to be healed.”
She went on, “That’s important when we argue about a critical race. There is one critical human race. It is the one-blood human race. We all are the same race.”
“There are no separate human races. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. put it this way: ‘We must learn to live together as brothers’ — and I’ll add as sisters — ‘or perish together as fools.’ So we have to be human enough to embrace human dignity — and I’ll add, from the womb to the tomb.”
“If we can do that,” she said, “then we can begin to resolve some of these differences.”
In an important point about skin color, she said this: “Differences in skin color — that is something that has been socially constructed to divide us. We say ‘people of color,’ but if you put your hand on a piece of white paper, it doesn’t look like that paper, right? There is a skin tone — some skin tone. With charcoal, for example — it’s got blue and magenta under it. It’s got gold running through the skin that gives it a vibrancy.”
“So everybody has some kind of color,” she said. “And we have to understand that we are all human beings, and we’re all created in the image and likeness of God.”
Read the Bible and reach out to others
How does she, day after day, dispense wisdom and grace? And what can others do in their own lives?
She answered, “Read the Bible every day. And try to find something that you can do for others every day. Most days,” she said with humility, “I try to serve and help others, and when I do that in my life” — she said she feels better and more at peace.
She cooked and brought food to family, friends, and neighbors over the holidays, she mentioned.
In this New Year — in mid-January and at any time all year long — “anyone can find a way to share and be with others,” she also said.
“Even if it’s in little ways.”