When I was in my early twenties, I read the autobiography of Malcolm X and found it to be really disturbing. For much of his life, Malcolm was a proponent & participant of violence against the white establishment, which had been extremely cruel to him and his family. In contrast, Martin Luther King Jr was an advocate of nonviolence and steady & assertive pressure against the white establishment. Clearly, there were plenty of justified reasons for both men to adamantly oppose the white establishment, but they chose different paths. Both men were born and assassinated at similar times, but today we honor the memory, methods and practices of Martin Luther King Jr.
When we are treated unfairly in our lives, the shortcut reply is to return injustice for injustice. Such reactions seem to be the normal human reaction. In contrast, the heroes who most readily capture our attention & admiration are those individuals who decided to step out of the eye-for-eye quagmire and to live at a higher level of moral authority: good trumps bad, love trumps evil and forgiveness trumps retribution. Admittedly, these are extremely difficult choices and in my mind, we cannot make these noble choices without the help and power of God working in our hearts and thoughts 🙂