Subject:             Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today’s Date                 Friday, January 15, 2021

Today’s WORD            

“Whoever passively accepts evil is as much involved with it as he who helps to perpetrate it. Whoever accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

(January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)

Today’s Witness

As our nation honors the legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther, King Jr. on this weekend, his words printed above are apropos at this moment in our history because forces of human evil are presently threatening our beloved democracy and quality of life in America.  On last week a sitting President declared to an angry mob that if they did not fight to preserve his presidency, that they “won’t have a county.”  In response to his marching orders, we witnessed thousands of angry people move on our nation’s capital on January 6, 2021, with the stated mission of stopping the U.S House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Vice President of the United States from performing their constitutionally required duty to certify the next President of the United States. 

Now win the aftermath of that insurrection, elected leaders, who themselves were victims of the failed attempt to overthrow our democracy, lack the honesty and the courage to oppose the evil that would not only destroy our democracy but also take innocent lives. Elected officials that are authorized to impeach and to remove the President from office for violating his oath; who say, “let him finish his term in peace” despite his criminal assault on our government; and those choose to look the other way for fear of taking a stand, or due to their personal political ambitions are as much a part of the evil as the person who leads the destructive movement. 

There comes a time when we must take a firm stand against evil, without fear of retaliation, or fear of how we might be branded if we side with what is right.  Failing to side with justice, truth and righteousness is a moral failure.  Whoever passively goes along with evil also becomes a culprit, bears part of the responsibility, and is no less guilty of wrongdoing, than the evildoers leading the procession.

So much is at stake in our time, that we need leaders of conscience, who have the courage to speak the truth, and then to do what is right in order to advance justice.  The failure to stand firm against evil and injustice is the precursor to more evil and injustice. 

I pray these timeless words of Dr. King will take root in all our hearts and minds as we honor his legacy.

The Passionary Intention

Today, I choose to live my life with passion.  Today, I intend to follow Christ more nearly, love more dearly, and incarnate God’s grace more clearly by asking myself three questions:

  • Where will I follow Christ today?
  • To whom shall I demonstrate Jesus’ love and justice today?
  • How can I play my part in practicing the presence of Christ, right here, right now?

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The Passionary Movement Word and Witness devotion is published weekdays (Monday – Friday).  Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, Executive Director of American Baptist Home Mission Societies is the author of today’s devotion.