Saturday, January 24, 2015

Martin Luther King Jr. and American Sniper

Monday was the day set aside by our government to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and his achievements in progressing Civil Rights in our country. My wife and I took the opportunity to watch some of his most well known speeches which if you haven't done, I suggest that you do when you get a chance. Here are a couple on youtube:

I Have a Dream

I've Been to the Mountaintop

Then Tuesday we went out to see the movie "American Sniper". It may seem that this movie has nothing in common with Martin Luther King Jr. but there was one line in it that stood out to me. Chris Kyle, the main character in the movie, flashes back to when he was a child and a conversation had at the dinner table with his father after he had defended his little brother from a bully. His father basically tells them that there are three kinds of people in the world sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. Sheep are the people who believe there isn't any evil in the world and are unprepared for when evil does come against them, wolves are the evil people who prey on the sheep, and sheepdogs protect the sheep from the wolves.

This is the beginning premise of the movie and basically presented as the driving motivation for Chris Kyle to become the "deadliest sniper in American military history". It implies that a sheepdog must protect the sheep through violence against the wolves.

As I started thinking about this I realized that there is truth to the assessment, however there is a much more affective type of sheepdog. It is true that Chris Kyle saved many lives in combat, but he did nothing to change the hearts of the wolves.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a sheepdog, but he was a different kind of sheepdog. He was a sheepdog that did more than just save a few lives, he changed history and he did it without violence. He based his life and philosophy on people like Ghandi and of course Jesus Christ.

Throughout history, time and time again, people have shown that the best way to change history and therefore to protect the innocent is not through violence, but through love and forgiveness. Along with the above mentioned there are people like Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. But of course the greatest example was Jesus Christ.

These people were not afraid to speak out against evil and to call it like it was. They didn't ignore the evil and they definitely didn't condone it, but they changed it through love, forgiveness, and acceptance of the person. Martin Luther King Jr. continued a long line of history makers who changed history by loving his enemies while calling out the evil acts and philosophies.

That is a true sheepdog.

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