Martin Luther King is my all-time favorite person. I don’t know how to explain why really aside from the fact that when I read his words and better yet, hear him speak, my heart swells and my eyes tear up. It’s the same way I respond to truth spoken from the leaders of the church.

I just believe in the things he speaks about.

He believes in a world without violence. A world filled with love. A world without hate.

MLK Quote

And that would most likely be a world without guns, that’s my assumption.

Why would someone like me, who owns a gun and stands by my right to do so, still respect those ideals so much? Still desire them?

It honestly makes perfect sense to me. But it probably doesn’t make perfect sense to most people. Why?

Because, there’s a large misconception in our society. A misconception that says that you can tell a person’s heart by what a person believes politically.

I completely disagree.

Lately we’ve had the great misfortune of grieving as a nation, yet at the same time, we’ve used tragedy as a political platform.

What’s worse is that most of us seem to forget that we’re all grieving this loss. It hit all of us hard. Whether we love guns or hate them, it hit us all. It affects us all. Some of us cry for more gun control while others argue that it makes no sense.

One side does not care about those children and those teachers more than the other. There’s no side that’s hurting more. Yet so many of us think that there is. One side hurts more. One side has a better heart. One side cares more. We all care. We’re all searching our minds and hearts for a solution.

The beautiful thing about the place we live in, is that we are all free to share these differing views and we’re free to write to our elected officials and share our thoughts without fear and we should. Action needs to be taken and we need to have healthy conversations about that.

But in our day-to-day interactions, in our comments, even in our thoughts, I think it’s time we stop looking at our political disagreements and for just one moment, think about what it is we are all wanting.

We are all after the same thing.

We just have different approaches.

And that’s a beautiful, albeit frustrating at times, thing. It’s one of many blessings of living in this country.

Half of the people I admire most lean to the left. The other half? The right.

People aren’t better or more kind based on a political stance.

“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.” (emphasis added)

Martin Luther King dreamt of a violence-free world–something we often forget that we all desire. He also dreamt of a world without hate and prejudice. And you cannot have one without the other.

We’ve come a long way in regard to racial prejudice, I’m sure we have a long way to go, but I think Dr. King would be proud. I don’t think he’d be so proud of the new prejudice that exists today. The prejudice that says if a person is republican/democrat, conservative/liberal you can see their heart, you can decide if you are more moral or more genuine than the other side.

If we want a violence-free world and I know we all do, then we have to stop hating each other.

It’s time to lay down our weapons, our hurtful words and unfair assumptions. It’s time to look at the heart of a person. Listen to reasons and hear silenced fears. It’s time to embrace the beauty of the country we live in and be united.

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

“We may all come on different ships, but we’re all here now.”