Post releasing a deep personal story a day ago I find myself evaluating; from what position did I write that story? Being Martin Luther King Day the thoughts flooded my feelings wondering, how he felt about those who hated him as he lived his life seeking to bring freedom and fairness for all. What did those, even of his own race, with contrasting views say and do? Were they operating from a position of hurt their entire lives? How awful must that have been?
Millions of opinions about this great leader have been written. We all have heard the words of his final speech, Free at Last. I went on a safari to determine just why were his last years seemingly filled with calmness, especially when we know his life was filled with threats of death the entire time.
I came upon a YouTube video that answered the very question in my mind. MLK had moved from a position of pain, hurt, and fear because he learned to operate with a different strength. As my own words would not be able to do justice to his, I encourage you turn up the volume and listen to this excerpt recorded regarding a time 14 years before MLK’s death.
(Seriously, if you do not listen to the YouTube audio, you will miss the whole point of this document)
On the contrasting side is another figure who completely disagreed with MLK’s views on dealing with the racist issue of the times. Judge for yourself, was Malcolm X operating from a position of hurt?
The mini-story I released yesterday was one I had written over four years ago. For decades, I had viewed what my Father had done from a position of pain and hurt. The thought had crossed my mind to start a blog to spew out all that pent-up anger.
The pen can provide an avenue for the release of many different emotions. Social media has provided the opportunity for individuals of all types to release hate, anger and vitriol that seldom found its way to print in the past. Anonymously written words in commentary sections have reached the point where it is best to ignore them. When beginning this site I had aspirations of spewing and getting even with those who caused much pain to me over the years. It is easy to write with hurt and tell people like it is. I was very tempted to do just that.
While attending a writing seminar, three years ago, I was struck with a statement that changed my mind. Hearing the YouTube of MLK’s awakening to dependence reminded me of the words that shouted from the walls of the conference room. The words were:
‘you should never write with a poison pen,’
I did not need to ask anyone questions to the meaning of that statement.
In all that we do, we have the choice to operate from a position of hurt. Hurt produces lashing out at others, fighting for our rights, and returning violence for violence. A transcript or movie about our country and world today is not needed to understand what operating from a position of hurt looks like.
Martin Luther King, like him and what he stood for or not, in the years before his death, showed us how to operate from a position of peace. He showed us how to live, as he said in the YouTube video, and how to operate from a position beyond his own hurts and fears; he operated from a position of dependence on God – We do not hear that side of his story very often. I felt it important on this day of his remembrance, to bring light on how not to operate from a position of hurt.
There was an even better example than the one and only American where a day is set aside to remember his life, if you care to know who that was, enter into the Portico…
(If this is your first time visiting Average Joe’s Portico, please read the Do you Dare tab to understand the shift, tap the red line before you read below and come on back ‘if you dare’)
One other human on earth found that spreading peace on earth was contrary to what other people want to see and hear. His life, like MLK, was lived under the constant threat of death by those who did not like what he had to say.
Then the Pharisees called a meeting to plot how to kill Jesus. Matthew 12:14
It would have been easy for Jesus to have his feelings hurt from people wanting to kill him. It would be easy to argue and state his case against all those who were against him. It would be easy for him to have rounded up an army and fight against those who disagreed with him. Instead, he not only showed us how to live a life of peace and love, but he told us how to operate from a position of bringing heaven straight to earth.
What He did was a contrast to the written religious rules. One of those rules was not working on a Sunday. This particular rule was one the Jewish leaders liked to tout and Jesus seemingly broke this rule when of all things, He healed a cripple on a Sunday (Sabbath). Here is what transpired:
‘The man went back and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well (healed). That is why the Jews were out to get Jesus—because he did this kind of thing on the Sabbath. But Jesus defended himself. “My Father is working straight through, even on the Sabbath. So am I.”
That really set them off. The Jews were now not only out to expose him; they were out to kill him. Not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was calling God his own Father, putting himself on a level with God.
So Jesus explained himself at length. “I’m telling you this straight. The Son can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does. The Father loves the Son and includes him in everything he is doing. John 5:15-20 (copyright The Message)
It seems like something impossible that Jesus would do only that which He ‘saw his Father doing’. Ok, he saw God doing things and only did what he saw. Really? How did he do that? To steal an old phrase, a better question is; what would God do? As I go about each day I am often confronted with decisions on how to respond, I ask myself, what would Jesus do?
Like the story of Him helping (and actually healing) the man, we learn from the written word how He handled many situations. I believe those words, if we allow them, penetrate our spirit while reading them. If I allow it, I carry them in my mind and they affect my actions thereafter. The more I learn them, and put into them in action, the more it becomes natural. (Jesus practiced 30 years before confidently spreading his message, it took concentrated time)
When it comes to flapping our lips and speaking things, it is easy to speak unkindly. When someone yells at us, it is easy to yell back. When someone threatens us, it is easy to threaten back or defend. But if we are operating from a position of walking with the peace and dependence on how God would do it, we can overcome our temptation to speak from hurt.
Writing is a bit easier. I had five years to think about the encounter I had with my Father in the field. I had 45 years to overcome the hurt. It took a long time to forgive him for the baseball game incident. But once I did forgive (as God forgives us) I was able to set aside that hurt and operate from a different place. I sat on the written story and revised it often, before being sure it had the hurt removed. I really did.
I could write with a poison pen, or write with one that portrays my own inner healing (being healed of hurt is like a cripple being healed – only God can do it). The hope then is my victory would help some other soul that also needed to deal with a pain. Like dominoes, we can spread hate and hurt and watch it tumble from one person to another. Conversely, we can spread love and forgiveness and watch it tumble positively.
MLK gave us the chance to see how peace could be brought about in our times, it is a shame he was killed and we did not see him carry the mission further. He seemed to show what the dependence on God, he mentioned in the audio, looked like. We have seen it in MLK and many others. Jesus explained ‘at length’ that when we stop, look, and ask what God does/did, we would know what to do as well. Spend enough time learning and we will figure it out. Better yet, put it in to practice, and maybe those who hate, and hurt, will see it also.
Imagine how different the world would be, if all of us practiced every single day, and every moment; Operating From a Position of Love?
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