It’s Martin Luther King Day today. Yesterday I came across a Wallbuilders post in honor of the day. David Barton of Wallbuilders pointed out that he was the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There are schools that remove the “Reverend” title out of some misguided idea that mentioning a historical person’s religious affiliation is somehow “establishing” a national religion.
|Ten Commandments of Nonviolence|
image from here
If that is true of some school—yet another reason to homeschool.
But David Barton went on to share Martin Luther King’s Ten Commandments for those joining him in the nonviolent movement. If we share nothing more about the man today, these Ten Commandments of nonviolence ought to be repeated.
1. MEDITATE daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
2. REMEMBER always that the nonviolent movement in Birmingham seeks justice and reconciliation—not victory.
3. WALK and TALK in the manner of love, for God is love.
4. PRAY daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.
5. SACRIFICE personal wishes in order that all men might be free.
6. OBSERVE with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
7. SEEK to perform regular service for others and for the world.
8. REFRAIN from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.
9. STRIVE to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
10. FOLLOW the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.
So, the tenth is directly related to the movement, at that time, in a particular city, so we may not need that right now. And the second is worded as time and place specific as well, but the idea of seeking justice and reconciliation rather than some nebulous idea of victory is still valid.
Not everyone is Christian. Nevertheless, I believe it is true that meditating on the teachings and life of Jesus. The remaining commandments are a pretty good description of what a regular person might work on to be more Christlike—to live a more truly civilized life.
There’s a lot in there about love—even when love isn’t offered in return—and about being kind, courteous, self-restrained, and selfless toward others.
The list I use most often to describe civilized behavior is the summary of the original Ten Commandments: honor God, family, life,property, and truth.
And another good list comes from the description of charity, the pure love of Christ, in I Corinthians 13:
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth
I love the King James English language, but if you need a quick translation, the list is
· Long suffering
· Not envious
· Not self-centered, no over-inflated ego
· Well-mannered (courteous, kind, modest)
· Not self-serving
· Controlled temper
· Controlled thoughts to avoid evil
· No joy in doing bad, but joy in finding truth
· Tolerant and long-suffering
· Positive, believing, and hopeful
· Enduring in goodness through life
As Peter taught, “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). In the Book of Mormon, Nephi taught the same principle, that God “inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile” (2 Nephi 26:33).
The required bahaviors of civilized behavior—leading to the comforts and joys of true civilization—apply to everyone. Live that way, among others who live that way, and you can fully enjoy civilization.
Live that way even when not among others who live that way—and work, as Rev. Martin Luther King did, to persuade others to live that way as well.
That is still a movement to get behind.