On Monday, I listened to a recording of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr “Letter from Birmingham”. That message was packed with wisdom, insight and challenges. I actually listened to it twice! I felt a need to sit and absorb the wisdom and passion from his melodious voice.
I admit that I have never heard this letter before. We have been so comfortable with the “I Have A Dream” MLK that we have completely ignored the MLK that wrote this letter. The circumstances that brought him to that jail cell is nothing outside of his consistent mission to stop injustice. The response given to his fellow clergy was both a surprise and a relief to me personally. He showed me that despite his unwavering commitment to his cause, he was very much aware of the decaying condition in the hearts of believers. He saw the divide within the faith community and it disappointed him…I can understand his position.
One word jumped out at me during this recording…TENSION. Dr. King explained that TENSION was necessary for change. I can only imagine how this shocked those who saw him as a soft, passive activist. He explained that non- violent TENSION was necessary to provoke change in a community. The marches, protests and sit-ins were designed to shift the atmosphere and start a conversation. And the use of the word tension just impacted me in a real way.
We often associate tension with negative action. It is aggressive and imposing. Dr. King taught me, decades after this letter was penned, that tension is something I should not run from or try to stop. I should allow it to pave a path to resolution and reconciliation. It has renewed my mind and opened a new realm of possibility in my relationships.
So, where is there tension in your life that you need to lean into? How can it pave a path to healing in your relationship? I challenge you to investigate that area and discover the gift in that challenge! Only you and God will know what is waiting on the other side.