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Messages of peace, love must spread

Jan. 17, 2001

A quick glance at the news today can leave an upbeat person depressed. Peace in the Middle East is still a far-fetched ideal, El Salvador faces trying to recover from damages sustained in a recent devastating earthquake, and, here in the United States, convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh is set to die in May, six years after he orchestrated the most deadly terroist act in history.

Monday we honored Martin Luther King Jr. While King's involvement in the civil rights movement is well-known, we tend to forget that King was also a preacher. He based many of his arguments for equality on his religous beliefs, and, no doubt, he prayed for God's guidance in effecting change in a bleak world.

Decades later, in an era when apathy and cynicism are hallmarks of people our age, King is still a shining example of courage and vision.

Though few of us can match him in bravery and initiative, as Christians, we can try to change things from the comfort of our own home. We can all offer prayers to God for healing and guidance in situations so terrible that we can't comprehend them. If praying isn't active enough for you, being a positive role model is another way to perhaps prevent or at least improve horrible situations. Each of us can share the love of Christ to those around us. Perhaps it is a simplification, but I can't help wondering how things might have been different if McVeigh had had a strong Christian role model in his life.

I am often guilty of making excuses for why I can't tell others about the difference God has made in my life. The idea of witnessing makes me very uncomfortable, and I don't want to risk alienating my non-Christian friends. However, on two separate occasions in the last four days, I have been reminded that 'being comfortable' isn't always what being a Christian or a good citizen is all about.

Opportunities to share the love of Christ are everywhere, and a way to keep King's spirit alive every day of the year. Though he was not famous for witnessing, King was famous for his messages of peace and love, messages the world desperately needs to hear. Will you, like King, take the riskier way, or will you, like many other people our age, remain apathetic and uncaring?