Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: The Gospel Personified

Steve Strang, Alveda King
L to R: Steve Strang, Naomi King, Dr. Alveda King, Jim Ferrell, Frances Ferrell at Gibbs Gardens (Steve Strang)

Every autumn, Joy and I like to travel north to see the changing of the seasons. We miss that in Florida.

This year, the leaves have not turned yet in north Georgia, but we had a delightful time visiting a recently opened garden east of Canton called Gibbs Gardens. It’s becoming known as one of the nicest private gardens in the world and among other features has the largest Japanese garden outside Japan. If you’re in the area, you must stop by.

This year, I invited my friend Alveda King to visit Gibbs Gardens with us, along with my in-laws, Jim and Frances Ferrell. Alveda loved the gardens, which she had never heard of although she lives only an hour away, in Atlanta. We loved getting to know her and her 81-year-old mother, Naomi King, sister-in-law to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. They are both delightful people, full of the love of the Lord and many interesting stories.

Naomi told one story about Dr. King that should serve as lesson for all of us. It was a turning point for the young woman when she saw for the first time the greatness in M.L. (as the family called him). He said something the Bible commands each of us to do: learn to forgive and love no matter how we’re mistreated.

You can watch Naomi King tell in her own words how she visited the King home in Montgomery, Ala., to welcome their first child, Yolanda, into the family in 1955. Dr. King had just been roughed up by the police, who tried to strangle him with his own necktie. When Naomi heard about it, she said she didn’t know what to say and started to cry. At only 26 years old, MLK told her, “The more they mistreat us and abuse us, the more we must love them and forgive them because hatred is very much alive.”

Isn’t that the story of the gospel, to love and forgive? In an era where it seems people are more hostile to Christianity and biblical morality as we know it, we must, like King, forgive others.

Naomi said, “That’s when I knew in my heart of hearts he was destined to be the leader he became. It was because of his commitment and his love and his love for people.”

Naomi also told us a funny story about how she cooked MLK a sweet potato pie (one of my favorites too) when he was recuperating from being stabbed in New York City by a crazed woman. Apparently, he asked for the pie. You can also watch this humorous story about how she talked to him by phone to see how he was recuperating and he told her, “I’m feeling good because I’m eating sweet potato pie.”

I hope you are blessed by these two short videos as I was hearing them live. In a week when I’m on vacation, I felt I would share them with you in my Strang Report. It also lets me highlight the ministry of Alveda King, who is doing so much to support the pro-life cause as well as Christian values in our culture. She has a high profile in the civil rights movement and has a huge influence at a time when it is important for leaders who are not afraid to go against political correctness to let their voices be heard.

From time to time, I raise money for various ministries through our nonprofit partner Christian Life Missions. In the same way you might support ministries that help Israel or the poor overseas, it’s important to support people like Alveda King who are standing for righteousness when many leaders are not. You can make a tax-deductible gift online by clicking here or by calling 407-333-0600 during office hours.

Every dollar will go to Alveda King Ministries. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if thousands of Christians and churches would support her as a missionary to the inner cities of America? You can learn more at alvedakingministies.com.

Meanwhile if you enjoyed these videos or if they made you think, leave a comment or share them on social media.

Steve Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma. Follow him on Twitter at @sstrang or Facebook (stephenestrang).

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