Monday, February 5, 2018

When Specks, Logs, Kings and Trucks Collide

During the Big Game, a Ram Truck advertisement was aired that featured an exert from a lesser-known, but extremely powerful speech by Dr. Martin Luther King in which he addresses issues of economic justice, systematic poverty and the importance of dignity in work.  In the ad, the turnkey phrase is a quotation of Jesus from Matthew 23, which fits the transcendent message of the ad beautifully. In the context of the Bible passage quoted, Dr. King's words could be made to impact a variety of persons, and have the power to touch a number of souls across a wide spectrum of the social strata.

When I viewed the ad without the benefit of commentary and simple took it at face value as I saw it, the ad did not compel me to buy a Ram truck in the slightest. It did stir my heart and remind me of Jesus' call to serve regardless of one's position or financial status.  As an African-American, I ask this question; have we grown so cynical, that we parse every effort to connect with us or every sincere attempt to expose the general population to our greatness to such an extent as to reject those very efforts as meaningless or beneath us because they're not perfect?  How can peace be found when every effort to step towards peace is labeled fraudulent or conniving? 

Any human effort can be found wanting with a sufficiently discriminatory micrometer.  What is needed, some where in our land, is a place where grace and mercy applaud, embrace and reciprocate an honest effort to gain understanding and promote peace.  While I cannot tolerate those who attack us with malice and venom in their hearts, neither can I reject every earnest effort to reach out to me and establish common ground because they aren't perfect.  The same Jesus Dr. King quoted, also said,
... why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Our nation is becoming much to practiced in staring at "specks" while we knock down masses of people with the telephone poles sticking out of our faces!  Might we just try to give each other a little slack, and celebrate even the attempts made to extend meaningful and conciliatory communication towards us?  Perhaps with a dose of grace and a generous helping of mercy, a dialogue towards peace might gain traction somewhere in this land.  Accomplishing this simple feat might be the best place for us to truly begin serving one another.

Peace everyone.

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