Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was both a Baptist Minister and civil-rights activist. Through King’s non-violent approach to activism, he played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of blacks in the South and in many other areas of the nation. His life and work won him a Nobel Peace Prize for his deep commitment to achieving social justice. He lived his life focused on a passion for equality and dreamed of a safe future for this nation. His life was powered by something bigger than all the hate he experienced pursuing freedom for all. What sustained his mission to do this great work? I believe it was the F-word; forgiveness!
King was committed to his controversial non-violent approach to spreading the message of freedom for all citizens. His life however was a moving target. He came up against much adversity and challenges which would make anyone want to give up, cave in, and quit! How could such a man sustain this mission of justice in the midst the death threats, arrests, false accusations and jail time? Dr. King shared his secret! A simple quote that rings loud and clear today; a reminder of our peace and freedom we have when we walk in the f-word, forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I use the F-word because forgiveness can be a difficult word to say when you have been wronged. It’s a verb that requires a surrendered heart on our part. It is a pardon we grant others or even ourselves. The action involves a letting go of resentment!
The reason forgiveness becomes difficult is because we have placed conditions on whether we should forgive or not. The conditions may vary. We may wait for an apology to grant forgiveness. Maybe there is an expectation of action that is placed on the offender before we forgive. Whatever the condition, we begin to enter some dangerous territory of playing God justifying why someone does not deserve forgiveness. Just like love is unconditional, so is forgiveness. Let’s admit, forgiveness can be easier said than done when we have built up justification to walk in unforgiveness. When we place a condition on determining whether a person deserves our forgiveness or not, we are ultimately choosing not to be forgiven ourselves according to the following passages:
For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:14 AMP
And whenever you stand praying, if you have ANYTHING against anyone, forgive him, and LET IT DROP (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you, your [own] failings and shortcomings and LET THEM DROP! Mark 11:25
Forgiveness is to cease to feel resentment against (an offender).
Dr. King knew that it was in his best interest to get the f-word right. How could he continue fighting for civil-rights while holding resentment toward the many accusers of his work? Dr. King knew the secret weapon. Through this non-violence, he was able to remain in peace because he knew how to walk in forgiveness. Embracing this constant, this attitude of choosing forgiveness he was able to do this great work.
What unforgiveness is holding you back from doing your great work? What areas could you let go, drop and allow the love of God to fill your heart? Think of the peace we forfeit! Forgiveness is powerful. I encourage you today like Dr. King chose a life of forgiveness, choose today to BE the constant and embrace and practice the f-word; FORGIVENESS!