Much has been said about the man, about his leadership during the Civil Rights movement, about his untimely death at the hand of an assassin, and about his flawed character. Having taught both his famous “I Have a Dream” speech (of which most of us are familiar with only half), and his lesser known “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” I am most in awe of the persuasive power of his words.
So today, I would like to share a few of his lesser known quotes that I think all of us would do well to consider. There are well over 200 quotes attributed to Dr. King, so choosing just a few proved to be quite a challenge, but here are some of my favorites.
Hate is just as injurious to the hater as it is to the hated. Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Many of our inner conflicts are rooted in hate. This is why psychiatrists say, “Love or perish.” Hate is too great a burden to bear.
He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.
The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges.
Cowardice asks the question – is it safe? Expediency asks the question – is it politic? Vanity asks the question – is it popular? But conscience asks the question – is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.
Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
Use me, God. Show me how to take who I am, who I want to be, and what I can do, and use it for a purpose greater than myself.
The end of life is not to be happy, nor to achieve pleasure and avoid pain, but to do the will of God, come what may.
God is not interested merely in the freedom of black men, and brown men, and yellow men; God is interested in the freedom of the whole human race.
And my favorite:
We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now.