In the six years I spent teaching elementary children, my favorite history lesson was to teach about Martin Luther King Jr. It gave me an opportunity to teach my students many life lessons that they could learn from the example life that King lived.
Not only did he do great things for this nation through the life he lived and for standing up for his rights, but he also had very wise words. Many of the words he said are now remembered by us and teach us specific things about life.
Here are 8 things we learn from Dr. King’s wise words:
By far one of my favorites. How many times in life do we start flying only to find ourselves in a place where we can barely move? MLK reminds us to not give up no matter what. If you have to crawl, then crawl. If you have to go slower than that, than drag yourself or move however you can. What a great lesson this is for many aspects in life.
2. Stand up for what you believe in
Dr. King believed that becoming silent about important matters was when our lives began to end. The moment we become silent about what we believe in takes away our freedom to express ourselves. For me these wise words remind me of my faith. I would never want to be forced to silence about my God nor about certain things that matter to me.
3. Trust God
Talking about God, Dr. King reminds us that no matter what, whether we have it all or not, to place our needs in God and trust Him.
4. Have courage and overcome your fears
Martin Luther King was a man who had much courage. Day after day he stood up to his fears. Not only was he a courageous man, but he also encouraged others to live a fearless life through his speeches, sermons, and his actions.
5. Live by faith
At the top of my list of important words to live by is the word faith. A word that can take us very far in life when we choose optimism. Faith is what MLK had when he voiced his famous dream speech. Though he couldn’t see the effects of his fight today, he had great faith of a future where everyone would co-exist in love. And though it may not be a world filled with love everywhere, things are very different to how they once were. Daily he took that staircase step by step, in faith. What an example that is!
6. Forgive others
Forgiveness is not only a wise word that Dr. King lived by, but it is also a Biblical approach. When we constantly forgive people by having a positive attitude towards them, we set ourselves up for a life of joy. Forgiveness leads us to have a life that holds no grudges or resentment against anyone and instead we live with only love and patience towards others.
7. Do not judge a book by its cover
No, he wasn’t talking about books. But we all have our own personal stories in our book that have made us and shaped us, and so has everyone else you met. Our lives are a book filled with stories of struggles and successes we have met along the way. It doesn’t matter who we are, where we came from, or how we look. We each are special and no one is perfect, therefore we are no one to judge the person next to us.
8. Love others
And the most wise advice that King gives us is to love others. What greater action than to love not only the people that surround us, but everyone who exists? This world would be a much different place if we all learned this one simple action. Love others. Enough said.
What can we take from these words?
Martin Luther King Jr day became a holiday where many of us have the day off. But what do we do to remember this great person? Some may do nothing at all. Others may take part in community events in honor of MLK. I say we make this an opportunity to be thankful for those people who have made a difference in this world by making it a better place. It doesn’t have to be a well-recognized person. It can be a family member who has helped improve your life or someone else’s life in some sort of way.
It can be a police officer, military member, teacher, or even a cashier who made you smile. It can be your neighbor, your pastor, a friend, or your spouse who daily makes life better for you. We can also make this day and every day one about loving others. That was King’s dream, a better world with compassionate people filled with love.
So as I reflect while I write, I also ask myself and I ask you using Martin Luther King’s words, what are you doing for others? Let’s start making this world a better place by serving and loving others.
What is your favorite Martin Luther King Jr quote? How do his wise words encourage you to be a better person?