The fact that today is Martin Luther King’s birthday and tomorrow,
Monday the 16th is an official holiday, got me to thinking about people
who step forward, out of the crowd, and try to make changes.
It seems as though most people who have tried to make the world a
better place for others have opened themselves up for lots of criticism
and hatred, as well as praise and love. Martin Luther King was no
Very often the ones who criticize are those who are too lazy or
fearful to do anything positive, but can’t wait to jump on someone who
is brave enough to speak out for positive change. This is as true today
as it was in ancient days.
I was thinking about the ancient philosophers, the prophets of the
Hebrew Bible, the Christian martyrs, even writers and poets – all those
who are mocked, ostracized, or persecuted while they are living. Years
later they are honored by many of the same types of people who had done
the persecuting and who continue at the present time to fight progress.
In that way, history just keeps repeating itself.
Fear of criticism is a very powerful incentive for keeping the status
quo. Theodore H. White, an American political writer (1915-1986), really
“hit the nail on the head” when he said, “To go against the dominant
thinking of your friends, of most of the people you see every day, is
perhaps the most difficult act of heroism you can have.”