What does it mean to be an overcomer as a person of faith from Israel, Iraq, Africa, China, or America – to name a few countries? One thing it does not mean is that you are to destroy verbally or physically anyone who has a belief different from yours! No, my friend, you are only responsible to God for judging yourself. That is job enough for each one of us! God (Adonai), alone is the Judge of His people (Deuteronomy 32:36). What a relief it is to give up having to be judge for everyone. How liberating!
Martin Luther King, Jr. The word overcomer brings to mind for most of us the theme song of Martin Luther King Jr., We Shall Overcome. Leading his peaceful demonstrations for civil rights for African-Americans, and all people, was a new way of getting things done – without violence. You remember the first verse of Dr. King’s theme song:
We shall overcome,
we shall overcome,
we shall overcome some day.
Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe,
we shall overcome some day.
His most famous speech was I Have a Dream given in 1963, five years before his assassination in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. It became a symbol of his lifelong effort to end segregation through nonviolent means. I am thankful for Martin Luther King Jr., who lived the words of the song and speech. The Greek word nikao means “to overcome, prevail, get the victory.”
Rosa Parks. Another person who was a great overcomer is Rosa Parks. She was born Rosa McCauley in Tuskegee, Alabama and was married to Mr. Parks at the age of twenty. She often boycotted public facilities marked "Colored."
On December 1, 1955, Rosa had a particularly tiring day. Employed as a seamstress, she had spent the day pressing numerous pairs of pants. At age 42, she admitted that her back and shoulders ached terribly that day. She caught a bus, entering from the back door after paying at the front door! Rosa settled into the middle section where she found a seat. A white man got on and demanded a seat. The bus driver ordered Parks and three other black customers to move. The others obeyed but Parks quietly refused. When the driver threatened to call the police, Parks said to go ahead and call them.
She was arrested. This event inspired a Bus Boycott that lasted 381 days. The monumental boycott – watched by the world – triggered the Black Freedom Movement and made a legend of Mrs. Parks. October 24, 2005, Rosa died, but she lives on in her lasting legacy as Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.
Jesus Christ. As a Jew, Yeshua Mashiach (Jesus Christ), knew about the pain of prejudice. The Roman government occupying Israel was not friendly to anyone who became so popular that he drew large crowds of thousands as Jesus did. He preached a new way of life where we honor and respect one another. He healed the sick, restored the emotionally wounded, and fed the hungry. Though martyred two millennia ago, He still lives on by the Spirit and His Words.
He gives strength to others, like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks to keep winning by overcoming without violence. Jesus Christ said, “… In the world you will `have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b KJV-mod). Remember my friend, you are not alone. The Overcomer is with you.
©2018 by Rita Bennett, CRA Inc., www.EmotionallyFree.org. Excerpt from Dr. Bennett's book, A New Look At The News, pp. 58-60.