He was a simple Baptist minister. A madman had murdered his wife and another member of his congregation in his church. He lost one son to an assassin, another to drowning. Affectionately known as “Daddy King,” he was the father of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
According to Daddy King's biographer, Murray M. Silver, when he stood up to give his eulogy after the murders had taken place in his church, Daddy King said: “No man. No man can bring me so low as to hate. If I allow myself to hate, then the man who murdered here in this church has murdered me.” He took a stand against hatred, vengeance, anger, and intolerance as an active expression of his faith. Prayer was his choice for the first course of action.
When I think of the holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Nobel Peace Prize winner, I also remember his father’s example of faith, prayer, and devotion. Despite the things he saw and the anguish he felt, his heart came back to faith in God, not hatred of his fellow man.
Plenty of folks around the world preach hate and condone hateful attitudes in others or themselves, for various reasons. It’s a scourge to be healed and reconciled. How? One vital way is by living the golden rule, expressed in the Gospel of Matthew as “in everything do to others as you would have them do to you” (7:12, New Revised Standard Version). This is universal to all of the monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The universal law of Love, as expressed in the golden rule, gives us faith, hope, and the understanding to expect better and live better. We can live this law in our hearts each day in sometimes small, simple ways. It can reform character and heal broken relationships, and provide a new view from which to solve problems.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Monitor, wrote, “Mankind will be God-governed in proportion as God’s government becomes apparent, the Golden Rule utilized, and the rights of man and the liberty of conscience held sacred” (“The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,” p. 222). Whatever situation you’re dealing with, praying to live this golden rule will help heal the problem. If we can practice our faith actively – living God’s law of love as operative in the golden rule – good will prevail.
This type of healing can take on many forms, including the removal of threats of all kinds. In this, it’s not always knowing the “how” that’s important, but rather having the implicit faith that God can reconcile, heal, and transform hate, bitterness, and anger. It’s a decision for peace, harmony, and loving your neighbor as yourself.
Mrs. Eddy also wrote: “Human hate has no legitimate mandate and no kingdom. Love is enthroned” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 454). We can choose to love today. We can choose to cherish the holiness and beauty of life, and to be active in our faith in God. Each moment of the day, we can heal hate with the prayers of our hearts, and let those prayers be affirmations of God’s love as the sovereign Ruler of the universe and all humanity. This is a way we honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Daddy King, who most assuredly inspired him.