The Content of Their Character

Today is Martin Luther King Day. As a Civil Rights icon, I suppose he might deserve the world’s accolades. As a purported Christian, I don’t really know.

He was known as a “reverend”. I know next to nothing about his theology. To form an opinion I would need to read his own words and writings and then compare them to what the Bible actually says. I just don’t have the time, even for a “great man” as the world views him. I have read some very negative critiques of his theology, but I don’t trust the sources of them.

I am also aware of FBI files, I’ve even downloaded copies, that claim that he was a man of profound moral turpitude, including homosexuality and other perversions. Again though, I think we should consider the source. I cannot speak to the truth of what they contain.

These files were produced by men with an axe to grind and who saw, even before the investigation, Dr. King as an enemy of the state. Further, these files were produced by the government, at the behest of men whose reputations are tainted by charges of racism during a time of tremendous racial upheaval in our country.

What I do know, is that among civil rights leaders of the time, Dr. King was by far the most reasonable in his public statements and speeches. Many other civil rights leaders were much more inflammatory in their speech and their actions. And I certainly agree with at least one thing that Dr. King said.

I look forward to a day when all men are judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Yes, I’m aware that that’s only a paraphrase of what he said, and it’s a small part of a much larger speech, but it’s my main point.

All human skin colors are based upon a small difference in the number of melanocytes their bodies produce. The pigments produced by these cells are the same whether a man is “white”, “red”, “black”, “brown”, or “yellow.” And to put it bluntly, skin color has nothing to do with a man’s behavior or character.

Black people who are Christians know, as do white people who are Christians, that every person alive on the earth now can trace their ancestry back to a single man just a few thousand years ago. That man is Noah. Every living person was descended from Noah and his three sons, so the notion that skin color is what divides us is simply wrong.

Mankind was divided not because of skin color, but because of our confounded languages. Because mankind was disobedient and evil, the Lord confused our languages and we were dispersed over the earth into tribes and tongues and afterward we formed nations and nations went to war with one another.

The fact is that mankind is a corrupted, fallen creature, and that the intentions of our hearts are evil from our youth. Evil only begets more evil, and so we face the challenges of racism, hatred, wars, and social injustice.

Certainly there are “good men” in the world. We sometimes advance, but mostly we fall backwards. Men like to think that we’re better and smarter today than in the past, but we’ve actually regressed. We’ve learned to call good evil, and evil good. We have abandoned nature all the while claiming we are trying to return to nature.

So yes, I look forward to the day when all men are judged by the content of their character. On that day all men will be found wanting, even the best of us. On that day, our fate will be sealed, not by the color of our skin, nor by the languages we speak, but on our deeds. And only one deed will redeem any of us.

That deed was accomplished some two thousand years ago on the Cross at Calvary. If you don’t want the content of your character to condemn you on that day, repent of your sins and trust in Jesus. He is our only hope for deliverance, for peace, and for life.

I celebrate Martin Luther King Day. I celebrate the life of Martin Luther King. Not because he was a great man, but because his words can remind us that we all need redemption.

There is none good, but God. Seek to know him, for if he doesn’t know us, we are doomed.

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