Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Every year we celebrate Martin Luther King Day in America. The day is set aside to commemorate the life of a man who fought against injustice and prejudice and sought to uphold and defend the rights of the oppressed. Dr. King was a champion of civil rights, who sought to bring a vision of hope to oppressed people by giving them a dream. One of the foundations of the dream was that each person, oppressed or not, is responsible to better themselves through education. But Dr. King had a different view of education than most. He believed that education without moral application was a deadly social disease. He wanted us all to be people of wisdom.
In 1947, well before his days of social and political activism, Dr. King laid the foundation for wisdom in his own life and for the lives of people he would influence. In an article printed in the Maroon Tiger, the student paper of Morehouse College, King wrote these words:
Most of the “brethren” think that education should equip them with the proper instruments of exploitation so that they can forever trample over the masses. Still others think that education should furnish them with noble ends rather than means to an end. It seems to me that education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture. Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life.
Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking. To think incisively and to think for one’s self is very difficult. We are prone to let our mental life become invaded by legions of half truths, prejudices, and propaganda. At this point, I often wonder whether or not education is fulfilling its purpose. A great majority of the so-called educated people do not think logically and scientifically. Even the press, the classroom, the platform, and the pulpit in many instances do not give us objective and unbiased truths. To save man from the morass of propaganda, in my opinion, is one of the chief aims of education. Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.
The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. But education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals. (emphasis mine)
What a great statement. But he was not done. Later in the article he goes on to make this point as well:
We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living. (emphasis mine)
That’s wisdom – intelligence plus character – knowledge plus experience – reason plus moral application.
As people who are pursing wisdom, let us seriously consider the areas of prejudice and pride in our own lives and surrender them to the nature, character, and example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May we as people of Godly wisdom:
1. be dedicated to honoring God;
2. be deliberately involved in meeting the needs of others;
3. defend the rights of the weak;
4. deliver the oppressed;
5. be devoted to the sanctity of all human life.
Serve others well today, my friends, as a reflection of the heart of God.