Words have power. History demonstrates that clearly.
Words can inspire, inflame, build up, tear down, deceive, enlighten, manipulate, and move people to action.
Words have started wars and ended them. Words have founded nations and laid them low.
And some of the best and worst people in human history have been very good at using words.
But it’s a very rare person who possesses an extraordinary gift for language and also uses that gift, not for personal gain or power or fame or partisan advantage, but rather to lift up all people and advance the causes of truth and justice in a way that truly changes the world.
The late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was such a person.
And as this past Monday was the day that we pause each year as a nation to honor Dr. King’s memory, I thought it would be appropriate to share some of his powerful words:
•“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
•“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
•“Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”
•“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
•“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
•“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
•“Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.”
•“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
•“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
•“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
•“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”
•“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”
•“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”
•“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
•“Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”
•“The time is always right to do what is right.”