As a young boy Martin Luther King’s mother laid the groundwork for his calling with an incredible lesson. In the midst of a world that told him he was nothing because of the color of his skin, she fought to instill in him a sense of “somebodiness.” Dr. King’s mother taught him that he had value because he was created by and irrationally loved by God, and without this lesson I doubt he would have been able to move against the laws and culture who’s predominate message was that he and those like him were somehow “less than…” MLK was a hero and a Twentieth Century Moses who led an entire people group from the slavery of buying into the lie that they were worthless into the freedom of knowing that they have value. I have no doubt that if Hebrews 11 were written today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would find his name listed among the greats.
I am not African-American, so I can never understand what it felt like to be a black man or woman in early twentieth century America. As a result, I will never be able to fully understand the depth of love and gratitude that an African-American must feel toward Martin Luther King Jr. So why do I experience such deep emotion when I think about Dr. King? It is simple really; his call to somebodiness is not only a message for African-Americans. We all encounter messages in life that tell us we are worthless. Perhaps the message comes in the form of a wound via the divorce of our parents, a broken marriage, a vocational failure, or a betrayal by someone we loved. We are all wounded people, and I would argue that the single most common message of these wounds is that we are unlovable, that somehow we are “less than.” Dr. King’s message of somebodiness is one that each of us needs to hear and be reminded of often. You are valued. You are loved. You are somebody for no reason – no other reason – than the simple but profound fact that you were created by and are irrationally loved by God.