Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.As we commemorate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr, I have to wonder just how much we're really ready to embrace his teachings. And - believe me - I put myself right in the middle of that "we." His life was a testament to how much he believed those words... he walked his talk.
We know that Dr. King grounded that belief in the teachings of another radical...Jesus.
You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.' But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.This is what Rev. Joseph Lowery was referring to when he talked about "good crazy."
You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
- Matthew 5
Antoinette Tuff came along to demonstrate just how much power is packed into that kind of "good crazy."
Yes, most of us would find it crazy to identify our own personal struggles with those of a mad man pointing an AK47 at us...much less tell him we love him. But what other weapons did Antoinette have other than the power of her humanity finding a way to touch his heart? In the end, that light proved itself to be more powerful than his darkness. It was a crazy leap of faith in humanity...just what Jesus and Dr. King called on us to do.
It is humbling to ask ourselves if we would have the kind of strength and courage Antoinette demonstrated when faced with that kind if situation. I don't know that I do. But I suspect it all starts with "letting my little light shine" in everyday mundane life.
P.S. Don't ever let anyone tell you that these teachings are about being "passive." Antoinette could have stayed silent or crouched in fear. Instead, she took the bold step of doing just what Rep. Lewis admonished us to do yesterday. She didn't stand by. She stood up, spoke up and got in the way.