On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on the balcony of his hotel in Memphis, TN. On the 50th anniversary of his passing, we honor the legacy of this powerful speaker, writer and leader of the civil rights movement — a man for whom the love of Jesus Christ was a source of continual inspiration.
In remembering Dr. King, here are 15 of his inspiring quotes taken from A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings And Speeches Of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes on Love
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
“Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.”
“I have decided to stick to love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes on Christ and the Christian life
“Evil may so shape events that Caesar will occupy a palace and Christ a cross, but one day that same Christ will rise up and split history into A.D. and B.C., so that even the life of Caesar must be dated by his name.”
“Always be sure that you struggle with Christian methods and Christian weapons. Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter. As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love.”
“I still believe that standing up for the truth of God is the greatest thing in the world. This is the end of life. The end of life is not to be happy. The end of life is not to achieve pleasure and avoid pain. The end of life is to do the will of God, come what may.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes on Doing What is Right
“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”
“It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.”
“There is little hope for us until we become toughminded enough to break loose from the shackles of prejudice, half-truths, and downright ignorance. The shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of softmindedness. A nation or a civilization that continues to produce softminded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes on Justice
“In your struggle for justice, let your oppressor know that you are not attempting to defeat or humiliate him, or even to pay him back for injustices that he has heaped upon you. Let him know that you are merely seeking justice for him as well as yourself.”
“Segregation is a blatant denial of the unity which we all have in Christ Jesus.”
“The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. Quotes on Hope
“Even in the inevitable moments when all seems hopeless, men know that without hope they cannot really live, and in agonizing desperation they cry for the bread of hope.”
“When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows.”
“In the midst of outer dangers I have felt an inner calm and known resources of strength that only God could give. In many instances I have felt the power of God transforming the fatigue of despair into the buoyancy of hope.”
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All quotes taken from A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings And Speeches Of Martin Luther King, Jr.
How do the words of Dr. King resonate with you today? How can you live out today the kind of Christlike love he championed? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!