Around the time of each Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday in the U.S., I pause to re-read, “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” written by King to Christian and Jewish clergy in April of 1963. I encourage you to read it if you haven’t recently. It only takes me 10 minutes and I’m not a super-fast reader.
The letter was King’s response, while imprisoned in Birmingham, Alabama, for his nonviolent sit-ins and marches, to another letter published in the local newspaper from 8 white Alabama clergyman who were opposed to King and his strategies.
Each time I read King’s letter, I pick-up a new insight or point of moral clarity. Today was no different.
King expresses his disappointment with “the white moderate” who, despite acknowledging the moral wrongs of segregation and racism, would not fully commit to actively pursuing justice:
“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
A powerful reminder to commit ourselves to examining and refining our life’s compass to be even more morally-aligned. And , then, to consistently behave in accordance with those principles.
Especially when it is inconvenient.