The Autobiography Of Martin Luther King: Chapter 9-12
After a year of boycotting the bus system and organizing car pools along with walking, King along with the MIA had a series of court meeting in order to try to resolve this social issue. After a number of reviews, it was decided that the separate but equal clause was unconstitutional. The segregation issues on the buses as well as the cities were to be abolished.
With this amazing news towards progress, King quickly addressed the people; in which he said this to them:
“Now our faith seems to be vindicated. This morning the long awaited mandate from the United States Supreme Court concerning bus segregation came to Montgomery. Our experiences and growth during this past year of united nonviolent protest has been of such that we cannot be satisfied with a court "victory” over our white brothers. We must respond to the decision with an understanding of those who have oppressed us and with an appreciation of the new adjustments that the court order poses for them. We must be able to face up honestly to our own shortcomings. We must act in such a way as to make possible a coming together of white people and colored people on the basis of a real harmony of interests and understanding. We seek an integration based on mutual respect. “ (Pg. 96)
This is an amazing sentiment of growth and control. When the average person's pride would balloon up, causing humiliation and disrespect to the oppressor, King saw this as an opportunity to unite with their "white brothers” as he called them. He urged the people to turn their enemy into a friend. That is such great advice for all peoples who are searching for growth as a people.
While those who opposed to the boycotts and the changing of the laws were acting unruly and angry, what better way to retaliate then to show love and understanding to those who oppress you?
With the current progress in the country, there were many advancements. There was still a lot of racial issues that still needed to be resolved. The problem in Montgomery was merely symptomatic of the larger national problem. While the segregation problems were resolving, there were still many white southerners that were angry at the decision. Due to that fact, there was a total of ten bombings in several churches and homes. With some reflection, King wrote:
“All of these factors conjoined to cause the Negro to take a fresh look at himself. His expanding life experiences had created within him a consciousness that he was an equal element in a larger social compound and accordingly should be given rights and privileges commensurate with his new responsibilities. Once plagued with a tragic sense of inferiority resulting from the crippling effects of slavery and segregation, the Negro was driven to reevaluate himself. He had come to feel that he was somebody.” (Pg. 106)
With this realization, King and the MIA decided that they would tackle the obstacle of getting the blacks in the south to gain the right to vote as well as the action of actually voting. He thought if the blacks would have the right to vote, then they would feel and be treated as first-class citizens.
“It demonstrated to me that a climate of hatred and bitterness so permeated areas of our nation that inevitably deeds of extreme violence must erupt. I saw its wider social significance. The lack of restraint upon violence in our society along with the defiance of law by men in high places cannot but result in an atmosphere which engenders desperate deeds.” (Pg. 120)
This was a thought that King had after a mentally ill black women stabbed him at a book signing. I believe aspects of this statement is sill very relevant to the society we live in today. Too many times we allow our hatred and our bitterness to shape our actions, where we may lash out in violence towards those we should encourage and pray for.
The Autobiography of Martin Luther King: Chapter 7-8
After Rosa Parks was arrested for her refusal to give up her seat and the people decided to band together and boycott the bus systems, King was soon given the role of the spokesperson for this movement. When the pressures of the new role began to pile on his shoulders, King addressed the crowds. The words that Reverend Martin Luther King spoke to the crowds are words that we can not only love, but learn from in our struggles.
“We, the disinherited of this land, we who have been oppressed so long, are tired of going through the night of captivity. And now we are reaching out for the daybreak of freedom and justice and equality. May I say to you, my friends, as i come to a close….that we must keep….God in the forefront. Let us be Christian in all of our actions. But I want to tell you this evening that it is not enough for us to talk about love. Love is one of the pivotal points of the Christian faith.” (Pg. 60)
This is great advice for anybody who is going through a difficult time or a time of oppression. Too often I think as we struggle through the situations that we have been given, we have a tendency to leave our faith on God in the past. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. encouraged us to keep God the most important thing in our lives. If we are going to express our love and passion for God, then our actions need to reflect that passion in such a way that people art drawn not only to us, but the God that we represent.
As King worked tirelessly for the movement that would soon create so much change throughout all of America, he often found himself mentally and spiritually exhausted. In the quiet time of his personal prayer, here are some words that I truly believe that we should still pray today:
“LORD, I'm down here trying to do what's right. I think I'm right. I am here taking a stand for what I believe is right. But Lord, I must confess that I'm weak now, I'm faltering. I'm losing my courage. Now, I am afraid. And I can't let the people see me like this because if they see me weak and losing my courage, they too will falter. I am at the end of my powers. I have nothing left. I've come to the point where I can't face it alone.” (Pg, 77)
This prayer shows a powerful man loosing strength in this seemingly-impossible battle. While he was loosing strength and may have been becoming afraid of his impact as a leader, what we also see is a man who has not lost hope. We also see the true source of MLK's strength and endurance during one of the most difficult times in his life and ministry.
As the bus boycotts were a huge success and the movement began getting bigger, impacting the lives of many. King soon got the news that his house was bombed. He quickly headed to his house, waiting to see his wife and born daughter.
After he realized that his family is safe, King addressed the people that gathered outside of his house. Some of which wanted to physically attack the white police officers.
“We believe in law and order. Don't get panicky. Don't do anything panicky at all. Don't get your weapons. He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword. Remember that is what God said. WE are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. I want you to love our enemies. Be good to them. Love them and let them know you love them. "
MLK encouraged the crowds around his home to not become a vessel for violence. He knew that there was no solution in causing more physically attacking any of the police officers, or anybody else for that matter.
To the crowds around his house, King continued:
"I did not start this boycott. I was asked by you to serve as your spokesman. I want it known the length and breadth of this land that if I am stopped this movement will not stop. If I am stopped our work will not stop. For what we are doing is right. What we are doing is just. And God is with us.” (Pg. 80)
Like any true movement doing what is right is not reserved to specific individuals. The leaders of this movement can be removed from the movement and the movement will continue. The "leaders" are simply used to get the movement started. The righteous ideas that fuel the purpose of the movement.
The question that I am left with it this: What is the forefront of your heart and your life? What ideas do you associate with and are you allowing God to strengthen your work?
“I'm not going to put my ultimate faith in the little gods that can be destroyed in an atomic age, but in the God who has been our help in ages past, and our hope for years to come, and our shelter in the time of the storm, and our eternal home. That's the God that I'm putting my ultimate faith in….The God that I'm talking about this morning is the God of the universe and the God that will last through the ages. If we are to go forward this morning, we've got to look back and find that God. That is the God that demands and commands our ultimate allegiance.” (Pg. 32)
This quote is a great look at King's faith in God. Too many times we overlook the fact that he was a pastor and a preacher. A man with a deep upbringing in the church and a personal relationship with God. His entire involvement in the Civil Rights Movement stemmed from his biblical belief and faith in God. He moved forward in his work because he felt that it was God's will for his life.
“The Negro who experiences bitter and agonizing circumstances as a result of some ungodly white person is tempted to look upon all white person as evil, if he fails to look beyond his circumstances. But the minute he looks beyond his circumstances and sees the whole situation, he discovers that some of the most implacable and vehement advocates of racial equally are consecrated white persons.” (Pg. 48)
When King spoke these words in 1955 at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church there had to be a trace of personal discovery here due to the fact that he faced this choice early in his life. Over the years he has seen the error of his ways and has grown to be able to confidently make this statement.
“Many Negros felt that integration could come only through legislation and court action-the chief emphases of the NAACP. Many white people felt that integration could come only through education-the chief emphases of the Council on Human Relations……On the contrary, I felt that both approaches were necessary. Through education we seek to change attitudes and internal feelings (Prejudice, hate, etc.); through legislation and court order we seek to to regulate behavior.” (Pg 51)
The first half of this statement is background. I really focused on the second half. I believe that it is important for us as people to tackle injustice from two points of view; from the educational side, in order to educate the next generation on the the views and errors of their predecessors. Also, we must bring change through the establishment of new laws. I believe this is still an affective methods to conquer today's challenges in our society and in our schools.
In our everyday lives we face ups and downs and we are forced to react to the situations around us. Over the last two years I have myself frozen with fear of failure. As I reacted and grew in the midst of these situations, I began to realize that there is a series of reactions that I believe every person faces during these times of uncertainty.
1. Get Depressed: We, as humans, are planners. We map out our "next step" and we expect them to go perfectly. When storms starts jolting us out of our comfort zone we often get upset and that then leads to depression. Before we know it that seed of depression grows into a Weeping Willow of self-doubt and destructive behavior.
2. Learn from the situation: When we go through stages of depression, we are often confused about our purpose or our personal expectation of ourselves. When we take time to dig deep into ourselves we will discover more about who we are and what we want to contribute to this life as well as what we want to gain from this life.
3. Take your opportunity: As we walk the path of self-discovery we must also re-discover who God is. Through this journey, we will re-construct our relationship with God and begin to understand and even discover our purpose that is hand-given by God.
4. Allow yourself to struggle: Too often we believe that if we are struggling through life or through our jobs or our relationships that we have lost God's blessing in our lives. NOT TRUE! the Apostle Paul speaks on this clearly when he wrote, " Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4.
THERE IS A PURPOSE TO OUR STRUGGLING!
5. God is with us: I know that have conditioned ourselves to believe that in times of our brokenness, or in difficult times, that God abandons us. That is also not true. God loves us too much to leave us with no hope. Our hope only shows up when we have persevered through the difficult time.
Early in the first chapter, King recalled a memory from his childhood. Growing up he was friends with a white boy, whom he became very close with. When the two eventually went to different school, the boy told him that his dad did not want his son playing with black kids. This seemed to confuse King.
“As my parents discussed some of the tragedies that had resulted from this problem and some of the insults they themselves had confronted on account of it, I was greatly shocked, and from that moment on I was determined to hate every white person. As I grew older and older this feeling continued to grow.” (Pg. 7)
This was very eye opening for me. As you study and learn about MLK you are under the impression that these were feelings he had not felt in his life. You are under the impression that any feeling of hate he would feel would be dealt with immediately. One would not imagine MLK making a choice to fill his heart with hatred.
“It has been my conviction ever since reading Rauschenbusch that any religion that professes concern for the souls of men and is not equally concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritual moribund religion only waiting for the day to be buried.” (Pg 18)
While I am not familiar with the writings of Rauschenbusch I agree with this quote. I believe that it is impossible for a church to focus on the spiritual health of the people and not be concerned with the physical as well as the society that engulfs our hearts. I believe James 1:27 is a perfect biblical illustration of what MLK is saying.
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted fron the world”
“I am convinced now, as I was then, that man is an end because he is a child of God. Man is not made for the state; the state is made for man. To deprive man of freedom is to regulate him to the status of a thing, rather than elevate him to the status of a person. Man must never be treated as a means to the end of the state, but always as an end within himself.” (Pg. 20)
Why do we always say it's a tragedy when someone dies,
when we won't say it's majesty when they're alive?
We won't acknowledge their greatness in the present.
We only see them as a gift when they're not present.
Why do we always say it's a loss when the price is paid,
when we don't see the cost until they're in the grave?
Their body may be gone, but their legacy remains;
with every memory we hold dear in our hearts and brains.
So, what can I say with these thoughts as they echo,
I can never let go, I need to know you through the best shows.
So, Lord be with us as we function through the struggle,
A fight through the rubble. A light through the tunnel.
We need to keep moving when obstacles cause setbacks,
We can't just sit back waiting until the wrecks lack.
We prefer to wear blinders so that we don't see the remanence.
We are only able to remain whole when we assume we hold eminence.
We know the past creates the present, the present forms the future.
The future reminds us of our past as time ticks through a true stir.
We course through life's courses, We scorch through life's scorches,
Not counting how many times we've been burnt by life's torches.
We're all looking for that majesty at the end of our kingdom reign,
not realizing the void of absence causes our loved one pain.
I guess we don't understand the impact of our breath,
So, how can we understand the impact of our death?
We breathe each breath without understanding the absence.
We think each thought without understanding our mad sense.
Our days are limited and counting down by the second,
Our age increases with all of the time that we've neglected.
Yet, we live these moments, knowing that death brings life.
Life leads to death and the in between is lead by our sight.
Our vision for our days is the impact that we leave behind.
When we look back into your life, what will we be likely to find?
Death is not a tragedy. It's a beautiful reminder of our limits.
It's the love that we felt, shown in memory snippets.
Death reminds us to live and to always try with our best efforts.
We are shown the authority of God and reminded to rely on His expert.
So, let's celebrate the life of the deceased and count our blessings.
We go to know them, see them, love them as they lived
The road was above me. Small figments of glass were scattered on the blacktop. I could smell the gasoline fumes as the liquid poured from the car, on to the pavement. I looked around at the world around me; the sky was streaked with purple and bright pink as the sun fell below the horizon. In every direct, there were groups of people talking quietly amongst themselves, wondering about our wellbeing.
In the distance I heard approaching sirens. The police and the fire department were on their way. I couldn’t move. My friend, the man behind the steering wheel of the car, wasn’t moving; he was slumped over the steering wheel, blood running in streams down the side of his face. I tried to call his name, but my voice escaped me.
The sirens were close.
The seat belt was tight around my waist and chest, holding me tightly into the seat, protected from all harm.
“Are you okay?” a man continued to ask. I couldn’t answer. I looked around me, people were standing in a large circle around the street, tears and concern masked their faces.
What had happened?
The sirens were close. The police car had pulled to the side of the car. An officer hopped out of the car, heading toward me.
I couldn’t move, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t move a muscle. I looked back at my friend, slumped over the steering wheel. Was he dead? Is he all right?
With a little effort from the fire department, the police officer managed me out of the entrapment of the safety harness. I couldn’t feel my body, I was numb. I was placed on a stretcher and harnessed, (so that I could not move) and I was rushed to the ambulance.
What had happened?
I looked back at the car, my friend’s car, the friend who was still trapped in the front seat, slumped over the steering wheel. I tried to warn them, to tell them that there was another life at stake, but I couldn’t speak.
The car was badly damaged. The metal that was once formed in the shape of a car, is now dented and balled up into a mess of metal, that could never been used again to make a car.
A tear came to my eye, but I couldn’t shed it. My friend was dead.
I closed my eyes, where I saw my dead friend sitting in the front seat of the car, blood draining from the top of his head. Everything went black.
I came to. I was being wheeled through the bright halls of the hospital on a long stretcher, being pushed by numerous men and women of medicine. The large florescent light over head bothered my eyes. I was being fed air through a tube, it looped around my ears, across my cheeks and the ends were in my nose. I tried to move. First, my hands, then my arms, I couldn’t move. It hurt too much.
I heard footsteps; the footsteps of my family and friends. My mom sat in the benches, her head buried in her hands. I couldn’t see it, but I knew she was crying. My younger sister stood next to her, her hand on our mother’s shoulder.
In the distance I heard the voice of my friend, “Hang on, Homey.” I didn’t see him, but I could imagine his face; it was disfigured, twisted in worry and concern. His hands were placed on his head, fingers intertwined.
From a nearby hallway, a man with white lab coat came to my side, “What’s his status?” He asked.
“Car accident, he’s in pretty bad shape,” one of the nurses told him. They continued to wheel me further through the large, white hallways. More medical jargon shot from the doctor to the nurse, jargon that I couldn’t understand. I just hoped they could help me.
All my life I was dragged to church, even when I didn’t want to go, my Grandmother made me. Every Sunday I sat through the sermons, hardly listening to a word that was spoken. Sitting in the church benches, I would watch my grandmother singing and dancing to the choir. [And when she prayed, so much love and compassion for her words, how is this?] How does she love these ideas so much? What does she see in this religion that I don’t see?
I wondered this for years. After a while, I thought I would never get an answer, it was just something that I would have to live with and accept. It’s not like I looked down at her or anyone else for their love for their religion, I just couldn’t see what they saw. I can’t feel what they felt.
“Every person must find their own path to God,” my grandmother would tell me. “Don’t worry, you’ll find your path.”
“He’s not going to make it.” I heard the doctor say to the nurse, who continued to fight and struggle for my survival.
Would I make it?
I thought of my grandmother, the woman who always told me to pray and put my problems in God’s hands. [I never seemed to do that], I always took my problems into my own hands.
Praying, I never did that, either. I heard my grandmother pray numerous times. I thought of all the prayers I’ve heard over the years. What was the method to these words they spoke to God?
~I looked up at the ceiling, watching the doctors and nurses continue their efforts of saving a life; a life that, according to them, was just the life of a dumb teenager. Why did they care about me? Why was I so important to them? I am not. I am nothing to them, just a person.
I closed my eye, turning a brightly lit operating room into my own dark, safe sanctuary. God, I know I never spoke to you, but I need to talk to you. Now, I’ve never been the best person. I’ve stolen things that hadn’t belonged to me. I’ve been mean to friends and family for no reason, except for the pleasure of it. I know there’s no reason for you to keep me alive, but I pray that you do, please.
[I paused. Mind clouded of new thoughts.] My heart filled with new feeling that I’ve never felt before.
I ask that you give me another chance, a chance to change my life for the better; a chance to right all of the wrongs that I have committed over the years.
~The nurses and doctors continued to hover over me; I remained stretched over the operating table. Once of the nurses looked into my eyes, I looked into hers; so beautiful, so gentle. She was an angel, my angel.
“We’re going to get you out of here; you’re going to be all right.” She told me through her facial mask.
God, please allow me to get up from this table. I promise to change, if you just let me see tomorrow, I will never be the same again.
The room was dark. Small streaks of light came through the blinds, illuminating the room in dim white light. I heard the rustling of the door knob as the slowly opened. As the door open further, I felt a gust of fresh air flow passed me, in inhaled the air, filling my lungs.
The light rap of the figure’s every step echoed through the silent room as he slowly walked toward me. Even though I hadn’t seen his face, I knew that his face was twisted and disfigured as he looked at me lying in the bed.
“Hey, man,” he said, nudging my knee, which moved slightly then moved into its original position. “How’s it going? You look good.” Hearing his voice, I could see that he was trying to hide his emotions. In my mind’s eye, I could see him sitting in the chair that sat next to my bed, his face formed into a mask of despair. His eyes reddened by his tears.
“Man, I’m sorry, I never meant for this to happen. I never meant to hurt you. And I definitely didn’t want Robin to die.” His tears ran down his cheeks, he didn’t bother to wipe them free. “My brother,” he said under his breath, leaning forward. His hands were intertwined, positioned right below his chin.
“I knew it was wrong to smoke, but we did it anyway. I never should have let you and Robin drive home that night, but I didn’t even try to stop you. I let go. I let this happen….” I could hear the anger deep in his voice. I’m sorry; I mean you’re my boy, why would I want to hurt you? You have to believe that; I never….I love you.”
He bowed his head, burying his face in his palms. “God, let him live,” He said in a whisper. “Our journey isn’t finished; we still have much to learn. We still have much to accomplish.”
No, no, that’s not what you want to say. Say it.
“Lord, I ask that you don’t punish him for my mistake. I ask that you give him another chance, another life, give us the chance to see the world as we should; a world with you in it.”
I felt his gaze fall upon me. Through the small slits of the blinds, a beam of light flashed through the room. He lifted his eyes from me to see what it was; a car, turning a corner on to another street. I heard the legs of the chair scratch against the linoleum floor as it backed up. The rapping of his shoes echoed ass he walked toward the window, where he stopped. Looking out to the street through the broken blinds, he sighed.
“You know, I haven’t smoked yet. Not since…” he paused. He knew what he wanted to say, but saying it would bring awful memories, and he didn’t have the strength to relive the news of this accident. “Your grandmother is here.” I heard him turning back toward me. “I think she’ll be coming up in a minute. We’ve been praying constantly for you. She hopes for a quick recovery.”
He walked back toward, where he leaned to the side of my bed, grabbing my hand. Squeezing my hand, he bowed his head, a single tear streaked down his cheek, settling on the edge of his chin.
How could this happen? How could I live a life without believing in something? How do you know how to live your life if you don’t have a role model? How can you be positive when all you see is negative? I sat in the bed, unable to breath. My mind was spinning inside a sea of thought, clouding my vision and diluting my perception. I began to watch my life play before me like the slides of a slideshow. My fatherless childhood: my nights on the streets with my friends; the hours sitting in a church, ignoring the many sermons that were spoken.
The sermons, the one thing that the church did for me, the one thing I had to know how to reach the Lord, and I didn’t listen. I began to try to recall any fragment of any of the sermons that I heard. Nothing; all I could recall were minor notes that I remembered from the teachings, nothing concrete enough to help me.
Lord, I need you. I thought to myself. Looking back now I see that I could have changed some things. I could have been a better person, not hurting others for my own comfort. I should have followed my heart, instead of allowing my peers to push me into trouble.
The room was dark; the only light came from the outside world, projecting through the blinds. The room was silent, the kind of silence that you would only see in movies, in hopes to project fear into your veins. As I began to settle to the silence, I heard a sound. A doorknob, someone was coming in.
The door opened slowly, revealing an elderly woman I quickly recognized as my grandmother.
“Hi, there,” she said, not expecting to see me sitting up in the bed, facing her. “How are doing?” she asked as she continued into the room. She sat in the chair next to the bed.
“I’m fine.” I said, trying to hide the fear and distress in my voice. “I mean, I’ve seen better days, but I’m fine.”
“Well, it was a pretty serious accident,” She said in an angelic voice. “Let’s just thank God that everything worked out, no one was taken too early.”
I nodded in agreement.
“Hey, what’s wrong? You look you’ve got something on your mind?” she asked. She looked deep into my eyes. Grandma was always able to see what was hurting her children, no matter how hard I tried to hide it, she would see it.
“I don’t know, Granny,” I said, bowing my head in thought. “Since this accident I’ve been thinking a lot.”
“What’s on your mind, Baby?”
“God,” I said, lifting my head enough to look into her eyes.
With a concerned look on her face, she said, “Do you have any questions?”
I didn’t answer.
“Well, all my life I was taught about God and his story, so I thought that is what I believed in, but I always doubted it. I never really followed God. But with this accident, I feel like I’ve been given another chance, like God….” I looked down at the blanket draped across my lab. With my forefinger and my thumb, I began to pick at the seam of the blanket. “…Like God kept me alive to change, to grow, to grow in him.”
I looked up at my grandmother’s face; a smile grew across her face. She looked down the bible that lay on her lap. The cover was worn, the pages brittle from years of being handed by many hands. “Did I ever tell you about the day God saved me?”
She ran a finger over the lettering on the front cover. I saw the many years of memories in her eyes, as deep as the deepest ocean.
She leaned forward in her chair, “You know I grew up a long, long time ago.” She started most of her stories with this sentence. Every time I hear it, it brings back memories of every story she has told me. “Now, I always went to church, it was just what you did as a child at that time. But I too doubted the words they were telling me, just like you.” She pointed a finger toward me. I looked into her eyes, I thought of the many years they have seen and lived through. I knew then what she told was true. “I spent years trying to figure where I was meant to fit in, especially in my teenage years.” She placed her hands back on the cover of her bible.
“Then one day, when I was twenty I was given a choice. You see, when I was twenty I had be come pregnant. As we prepared for the baby to come, we began to fight. He knew that he had to provide for the child, but he was unwilling to try. He acted as if he wanted nothing to do with me or the child, saying that it wasn’t his….”
I looked into her eyes; they were filled with tears of sorrow and despair. All I wanted to do was wrap my arms around her, comforting her, but I knew that she would say she was fine.
“Well, when I was four months into my pregnancy, I had run into complications. Next thing I knew I was in the hospital, lying in the bed, doctors trying to learn what had happened.”
She looked down at her bible. A tear ran down her cheek.
“I sat in the empty room, looking through my teary eyes at the empty walls of the hospital room. The only thought in my mind was will my child be alright. So, I waited, waiting to hear what the doctors had to say. Next thing I knew I saw the doctors walking toward me in the distance. I surveyed their faces, I knew something was wrong.” She lifted a hand from her bible, wiping the tears free with her forefinger.
“When the doctor came into the room, he rested his hand on the edge of the bed. His eyes were sorrowful; he bowed his head, trying to find the words. When he finally spoke his voice broke. He told me that I had lost the baby.”
The words struck my heart like a knife to the heart. I couldn’t hold the emotion from flowing from my eyes. “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that.” I said, laying my hand on hers.
She hadn’t broken her rhythm, she just continued with the story. “After I had lost the child, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t understand it. I constantly asked how God could do this, how he could allow this.”
A tear streamed down my cheek. I didn’t wipe it free; I just looked at my hurt grandmother.
“It was then that I began to talk to my mother again. I needed answers and I felt she could give them to me. I told her of the miscarriage and what I was feeling.” She paused.
“What did she do?” I asked, unaware that I had said anything at all. My grandmother lifted her head, our eyes meet.
“She loved me.” She said with a smile. “She saw my pain, so she said nothing; she wrapped her arms around me, comforting me.” She paused. I knew she was remembering the love and beauty of her mother. “When she finally spoke, she told me that even though the child was only here for a short period of time, it made a profound effect on everything around it….”She paused, trying to find the right words.
Wiping a tear from her eye, she said, “….she had told me that God planned my life, every minor detail. I thought I’d never be happy again, but five years later I became pregnant again. Next thing I know I was laying in the hospital bed, my new-born daughter in my hands. I can remember it like it was yesterday, my mother sat by my side and when I looked into your mother’s eyes I saw God’s grace. It was then that I learned that when I was pregnant the first time I wasn’t ready to be a mother. God knew this, but he put the child in my life to bring me closer to him.” She looked at the bible laying on her lap, a tear of joy streamed down her cheek.” She lifted her head, looking into my eyes.
“That’s a great story. I’m sorry you had to go through that.” I said, seeing the memories that swirled in her mind.
“Don’t be, I’m not. Like I said, God put these moments in my life to bring me to him, to his grace.” She stood to her feet, leaned over kissing my forehead. “I love you.”
“I love you.”
She turned and slowly headed for the door.
“Grandma,” I said in a low whisper. She turned toward me.
“How will I know God’s love?” I asked, looking up from the blanket, no longer feeling ashamed of my feelings.
With her free hand (her purse hung from the grips of her other hand) she pointed to my chest. I looked down at my shirt, where her finger pointed. “My heart,” I asked, looking at her.
She smiled. “Listen to it.”
She walked toward the door and left me to my thoughts. I lifted my head to see the door latch into the frame. My hand clinched the fabric of my shirt that guarded my heart.
So, today I am going to talk to you about a subject that we all know about, but not everyone may fully understand. Today we are going to talk about Faith. So, what is Faith? The definition of Faith that I want to focus on today is this: "confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another's ability.'" According to this definition, faith is something that we all have, the question is what do we invest our faith into?
We can also infer from this definition that when we place our faith in a person, thing, or idea we place our entire faith. Everything within us that we have is placed in this person or idea. for example, if you are a parent and you child comes to you and asks you to invest in a business opportunity by investing large sums of money into the business, would you have the true faith in your child to invest all that you have to show your faith to that child. How many of us would say that we have full faith in our children, but not back it up with the public display of our faith? We wouldn't! If we truly have faith in the ability of our children, we would show it with our actions by giving the money required.
What about or faith as a Christian? Does our faith in Christ show by us being confident in the power of Christ? Do we trust Christ to the extent that our lives show in our everyday lives? The scripture that we will focus on today is in Romans chapter 3: 22. "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." let us dig into this verse. At first sight we can see that Righteousness of God comes from not only believing in Christ, but having faith in Him as God. What does that mean for Christians?
Well, if we look at our definition of faith, we can see that it means more than just believing, but we are called to have our life transformed by putting our faith into Christ. See, we can not just believe in Jesus Christ as God, but we are called to put our confidence and trust into the fact that Jesus is God. We are not only called to put our faith in the life of Jesus, but his death and resurrection. Lets read Romans 3: 25, “God presented him(Jesus) as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.”
See, this verse shows that we are made righteous through the blood that Jesus shed in order to give us salvation. Why is this? Well, lets look at who Jesus was, go to Hebrews 1:3. We are going to read the first part of the verse, which says, “The Son is the radiance of God’s Glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”
This verse is telling us that Jesus was not just an ordinary man, but the exact representation of God’s glory in the form of a man. All of the strength and power that God in heaven has, Jesus was also given.
Now that we have a better idea of who Jesus is and the power that He has, we would all agree that our Faith should placed in Jesus, not only because He is God in the flesh; but because He took the form of a man to die for our sin. His death, burial, and resurrections means so much to us as Christians because it means that we are given grace and we get to see heaven. We get to be with God for all eternity!
If Christ did all of this for us, why do we continually refuse to put our faith into His life and death to the point of allowing the Word of God to drastically change our lives and the way we live? Yes, we believe in Christ, even as God, but we choose not to put our faith in His blood and his power. WHY?!
How deep will our beliefs go if we don’t put our faith fully in what we claim to believe? If that is the case, our beliefs mean NOTHING TO US! Every person in the Bible that lived in faith gave their lives to God to use according to God’s plans. Those who did not place their faith in the sovereign power of God were usually left powerless and devoured by the LORD.
We can look at what the Apostle Paul says about Abraham’s faith. In Romans 4: 20 and 21 Paul says this, “Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God has power to do what he had promised ”
See, Abraham knew what God had promised him and Abraham would not forget these promises and his faith showed that he believed God would fulfill His promises. Faith does not refuse to face reality but looks beyond all difficulties to God and his promises.
Are we living in this type of faith? A faith that transforms the way that we live and act toward everyone we encounter in our lives. We are, as the church, living lives that glorify God? Or do we just have enough faith to look like a Christian to those around us?
“Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness 5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
Love and Hatred for Fellow Believers 3 We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4 Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, love for God[a] is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.
9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister[b] is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister[c] lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
Reasons for Writing 12 I am writing to you, dear children,
because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.
13 I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have overcome the evil one.
14 I write to you, dear children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong,
and the word of God lives in you,
and you have overcome the evil one.”
Throughout the remainder of this chapter, John continues to write to Christ followers about the life that they live. In Verses 5 the word “light” represents what is good, true and holy. On the other hand, “Darkness” represents what is evil and false.
In verse 6, John begins describing two different lifestyles-one characterized by wickedness and error, and the other by holiness and truth. Verse 6 also shows that we can not live in the darkness of our lives and claim to be Christians. The way that we live our lives show other weather we are in fellowship with the LORD or not. In other words, to have fellowship with God is to be in living, spiritual union with God.
Verses 9 discusses that, since we are broken and sinful people, if we tell God of our sins and turn from our wrongdoing, that God is willing and faithful to forgive us as long as we declare Christ as our Savior. Allowing Jesus to be the savior of our soul, God will be faithful in forgiving.
Verse 10-Throughout the Bible, God has revealed to us that we are all sinners and we are all unworthy of God’s grace and God’s heavenly kingdom. So, if we try to convince others that we have never sinned and that are not sinful, then we are calling Jesus Christ, our heavenly Father, a liar. If we are calling God a liar in our lives, why would we try to live by his words? Why would we place God’s words in our lives?
Verse 1- John reveals that he is writing this letter to encourage the Christ followers to remain away from sin, but John shows that when we do fall into sin that Jesus speaks to God on our defense of our sin. One way to think about it would be if we were in court for murder. God is the judge and Jesus is our attorney, fighting for our freedom from our sin.
Verse 2- God’s holiness demands punishment for human sin. Jesus was sent to be the substitution atonement for the believer’s sin. In this way God’s wrath was satisfied with Jesus’ sacrifice. The wrath that was originally against the Christian’s sins was turned toward Jesus on the cross. This verse also shows that Jesus’ redemption for our sins is not solely aimed at one group of people, but that forgiveness is offered to anyone in the world who trust in Christ’s sacrifice.
Verse 3- john says that if we claim to know God and to have a relationship and it is not seen by our actions and the way we live our life, than we are lying to ourselves and to others. If we truly know God then the world and other believers will be able to see that by the way we keep His commands.
Verse 5- when we follow the words and commands that God has given us His love is made complete in us. This could mean either one of two things; first, God’s love for the believers is made complete when it moves the believers to acts of obedience. Second, our love for God becomes complete when it expresses itself in acts of obedience. Either way you look at this verse we see that as believers we are called to follow God in obedience and that is shown in our actions and the way that we live.
Verse 7- The command to love one another is not a new idea, but because of the love that Christ displayed on the cross the command is seen in a new way and a new light. We are called to love each other and that command is shown through the life of Jesus. John is saying that this command is something that we have been hearing from the first day that Christ was placed on this earth.
Verse 9- This verse is a reiteration of what is said at the end of chapter 1. As believers we are called to love those in our lives.
Verses 10- throughout the Bible the hatred and love as moral qualities are not primarily emotions, but attitudes expressed in action. In this verse when it uses the word “stumble” is referring to stumbling into past sins.
Verses 12 to14- John is speaking to the members of the church. By using words such as “Fathers” and “young men” it seems that John is describing two different levels of spiritual maturity. In this section, John assuring the members of the church that they know the true God and that God knows them. In this, John is encouraging the church to stay strong in the truth of Jesus Christ.
Questions to think about:
Why does John describe God as Light? Do you think that is a accurate description?
What are the ways we walk in the darkness?
How can we walk in the light?
What do we learn about sin? What is our job and what is Christ’s Job?
Of all the commands why does he mention #2-Loving others?
What sins get in the way of loving others?
How do we deceive ourselves? Have you ever done that?
What does he end the way he does-in a poem?
“The Incarnation of the Word of Life
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our[a] joy complete.” 1John 1:1-4
Verse 1- John continues to use words such as “we” which is talking about him and the apostles that followed Jesus throughout the three years of ministry. In this verse John is showing that Jesus has existed forever and was on the earth among John and the other apostles. Through this, John is revealing that Jesus was on the earth, saying, “which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched.” This contradicts that idea of Gnosticism, which said that Jesus only seemed to have a body and that it was not real. John is saying that Christ was both truly divine and truly human.
Verse 2- Jesus is being referred to as “the life” because He is the source of life (being the God who created life) and He is sovereign over life. The letter of 1John begins and ends with the idea of eternal life.
Verse 3- fellowship is the spiritual union of the believer with Christ. This idea is described in the figures of the vine and the branches (John 15:1-5) and the body and the head. (1Co 12:12; Col 10:18). Fellowship is also referred to as the communion with the Father and with fellow believers. Through John proclaiming what he has seen and heard, he is inviting us into fellowship with his congregation of believers.
Verse 4- John knows that his joy in the LORD could not be complete until those who read this letter share the true knowledge of the Christ.
Overall-these four verses begin a letter that testifies that Jesus was really God in the flesh and that He came to earth. John has seen and interacted with Jesus personally. John is most likely writing to the first generation church. Many of the people in his church were alive as Jesus was on the earth. John writes this book in order to encourage those who live in Christ to not loose focus on what Jesus had taught to His believers.
Answer/ Think about
Who is John talking about…….the One?
What do we learn about Jesus/The Father?
Why is John joyful?
If people looked at our lives what would it testify or proclaim?
How have we seen or experienced Jesus at work in our lives? If we haven’t, how can we get to know him and experience him?
How do we proclaim Truth?
Anthony K. Giesick
I grew up loving stories and quickly found myself loving writing poetry, stories, songs! Here is a sample of what Beautiful Feet Writings is all about!.