Over a week ago Americans celebrated the birthday of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. But just what did America celebrate?
America seems to celebrate everything about Martin Luther King, Jr. but his love of God, his humbleness in recognizing his need for the Savior, and his unrelenting pleas to the masses to ‘do righteousness’. King’s message went much further than non-violent protest and civil disobedience. His message was God’s message — obey God and do righteous works unto your fellow-man.
The biblical definition of righteous, in the KJV Dictionary, is “1. Just; accordant to the divine law, 2. Just; equitable; merited.” The secular (worldly) definition by the Merriam Webster dictionary follows closely as, “morally good : following religious or moral laws”. In addition, if one does an Internet search of ‘quotes on righteousness’, the search will yield a plethora of quotes from famous and non-famous people alike.
Being righteous does not naturally flow from humanity unless each person receives the righteousness of the Holy God, which is only obtainable by and through faith in Jesus Christ. As quoted from the original Martin Luther, “People must have righteous principals in the first, and then they will not fail to perform virtuous actions.”
Therefore the first source of righteousness is from God. It is not something you “have” — it is a quality you ‘get’. It is a gift to spirit, soul and mind, which is acquired by faith — faith in the Savior, Redeemer, Restorer, and Deliverer, whose name is Jesus. The first man (and woman) had this God-given righteousness, but they traded it in for the next source of righteousness — that of ‘self’.
Reverend King had God-given righteousness. The people who supported and followed him had the same righteousness. Even those who didn’t necessarily follow or agree with King sought to abide in the righteousness of his cause. They listened, changed laws, policies and practices which favored the righteousness of justice, peace, and equality.
Perhaps you have no faith, belief, or trust in God. You might call yourself an Atheist, or you’re proud to denounce a white Jesus or refuse to claim a black Jesus. If so, then your righteousness flows from you. It is self-righteousness and has no recognized authority above it.
Today’s so-called movements are built upon self-righteousness. Moral Mondays, Ferguson, Hands Up Don’t Shoot, and Black Lives Matter sadly lack the dignity and integrity found in the days of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
Self-righteousness is so insidious that what starts with a few will grow like a cancer until it kills off what was good. It will cause many to vote for a man because his skin color is the same or vote for him because it is not. It will stand up and applaud loudly when stealing from those who have, to give to those who don’t is advocated (income inequality). Self-righteousness demands that there is an equal opportunity to start and own a small business, but has no problem with burning down someone else’s small business. Self-righteousness says black lives matter, but has no problem fighting to support laws that allow abortion because the baby is the wrong sex, or aborting a baby no matter the age of gestation. Self-righteousness will even say, allow me special rules because I’m not capable of obtaining or doing what everyone else is capable of obtaining or doing (voter ID). Self-righteousness is always destructive. It can’t build up, it can only destroy. It doesn’t teach, it dumbs-down.
Demands for justice, equity, freedom, compassion, and love are not reciprocated by the self-righteous. Self-righteousness doesn’t care about anyone or anything else. It is after all, about ‘self’.
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister. His principles flowed from the righteousness of God. Would he march with the protesters of Ferguson? Would he allow protesters to chant death wishes to police officers? Would he have been present in the March for Life? Would he stand with the NAACP and their Moral Monday’s? It is difficult to imagine his presence in any of the protests we’re seeing today. God-righteous people will remove themselves and return to right thinking and right actions, or more so, not become involved in self-righteous actions to begin with.
Each person must seek and hold fast to God-righteousness, for destruction is sure to follow anything else.
Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin [is] a reproach to any people. Pr 16:8 Better [is] a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.