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Content of Character

     On Monday, January 16th, we will celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, just two days after he would have turned 82 years old.  Dr. King was one of the greatest orators of our time.  In his renowned speech, “I Have a Dream,” delivered August 28, 1963, in Washington, D.C., Dr. King stated, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

    Throughout the history of mankind, we have always had the propensity to judge others by what we discern with our five senses – see, hear, smell, touch, etc.  The scripture tells us to “Love our neighbor (others) as ourselves.”  Matthew 19:19  That frees us up to not judge them, but love them.  I believe what we love or hate in others is exactly what we love and hate in ourselves.  We can’t love or hate others without reciprocating the same to ourselves.  The scriptures are clear in this matter:  “Judge not, that ye be not judged for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged:  and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”  Matthew 7:1

    In the scriptures when God was anointing a king for the nation, He informed the prophet Samuel that He was not impressed with the outward appearance.  “But the Lord said unto Samuel, ‘Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature:  …The Lord seeth not as man seeth:  for man seeth on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.’”  I Samuel 16:7

    The content of our character is a matter of what is in our hearts.  Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”  Luke 6:45

    Well, as we see Dr. Martin Luther King was addressing a problem that exists from the beginning of time – when Cain killed his brother, Abel, until today when we hate our brothers and sisters simply because of the color of their skin or because they are different.

    The Fourth Step of the 12 Step Program states, “I make a searching and fearless daily moral inventory of my defect of character.”  We all have character defects, but as we search and root them out without fear or intimidation, our lives will reflect the forgiveness power of God and be allowed to be all that God has created us to be.  King Solomon, another wise man said, “Whatever a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  Proverbs 23:7   The content of our character is what is in the heart of each of us.  As we celebrate the legacy and life of Dr. King, we honor him, but most importantly, we honor God by committing to the “Golden Rule” -- “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” 

Have a wonderful holiday and upcoming Black History Month.  God bless you and God bless Bridges of America.

Written By: Father Charles Brown