Two Men Named Martin

kingThis week we celebrated the birthday of a great man, one I remember listening to as a child: Martin Luther King, Jr.

My office looks out on a statue of another man, likewise used by God to usher in change and reform. This man lived 400 years earlier: Martin Luther. I have often mistakenly (at the peril of my job) referred to his sculpture as the Martin Luther King statue.Martin-Luther-Jon_Shoulder

They both had a lot to say about similar topics. Hopefully their words will infuse you with courage, as they did me.


MLK:  Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

Luther: We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.


MLK: To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing. 

Luther: I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.


MLK: We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.

Luther: Forgiveness is God’s command.


MLK: Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.


Luther: Let the wife make her husband glad to come home and let him make her sorry to see him leave.

Speaking Out

MLK: Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Luther: You are not only responsible for what you say, but for what you do not say.

Right & Truth

MLK: The time is always right to do what is right.

Luther: Peace, if possible. Truth at all costs.


MLK: A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.

Luther: I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other. So help me God. Amen.


MLK: Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.

Luther: If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.


MLK: A man who will not die for something is not fit to live.

Luther: I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.


MLK: We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

Luther: Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.


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