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           Two summers ago I stood in the parking lot of the Lorraine Hotel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. I stood not far from the spot where he was shot. I turned around and saw where his killer shot from. I watched the people around me as they looked at the same places I looked. Some stood with tears in their eyes. Others looked slightly bewildered.

             A few hours earlier, I was helping pump gas at a local gas station for a church. I pumped gas for all types of peoples with all types of skin color and all types of beliefs. An hour after standing at the Lorraine Hotel I walked down Beale Street. Once again, I stood shoulder to shoulder with people who were different than me.

             As I think about Dr. King’s legacy, that trip to Memphis, and racial issues in the present, I have conflicting emotions. I am sad that we still live in a country where people are judged based on the color of our skin. I get angry when I see people use this for their benefit. I get excited when I see people of different races living, working, and playing together.

             Ultimately, when I think of Dr. King, I think of Jesus. I truly believe that Dr. King was pushed to do what he did based on his personal relationship with Jesus. If this country has any hope of reconciliation, it will not come from people yelling at each other or trying to force people to believe a certain set of beliefs. The only hope that we have is in Jesus.

             When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was (Matthew 22:36-40), he told us that it was to “Love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your mind.” He did not end the conversation right there. He added the second greatest commandment. He told us “to love your neighbor as yourself.” After that, he astonishingly told us that “all the Law and all the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” In other words, the Old Testament was built on loving God and loving others. If we are to truly please God, then we must love our neighbors. The Bible teaches us that everyone we come across is our neighbors (Luke 10:25-37). In fact, in the Parable of the Good Samaritan the true neighbor was a person quite unlike who people would have imagined was the neighbor.

               I believe that racial issues are a heart issue. Heart issues are only solved through Jesus. If we want to see a better world we must not only live the life that Jesus calls us to live, we must also share Jesus with others. A world that loves Jesus and lives for Jesus is a world where we all will get along.

Marty

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