#MLKDay: Dr. Bernice King opens up about the lessons taught from her father's life [VIDEO]

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Article By Michelle Mayes // Faith + Justice // EEW Magazine

Jesus said in Matthew 23:11, “The greatest among you will be your servant,” and this is the scripture Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King, daughter of Coretta Scott King and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., grew up hearing most.

In a sit-down chat with YouVersion, the international orator and speaker said, “My mother invoked that [scripture] quite often as an example of who my father was. It was always about thinking outside of yourself.”

The youngest daughter of the civil rights leader was just five years old when her father was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. Since that time, she has been undergoing her own evolution and striving to live her faith out loud, and be an example to others.

“People would rather see a sermon than hear a sermon. We have to be the word,” said Bernice, meaning, we must live out our faith, and show forth the nature of Christ to the world—even though the world can be cruel, cold, and heartless.


People would rather see a sermon than hear a sermon. We have to be the word.
— Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King

The CEO of The King Center, who saw both her father and mother suffer greatly, admires how they lived sacrificially and quickly forgave those that did them wrong. She told YouVersion of Mrs. King, that she was able to “transcend the pain and still lend a hand and a heart to those individuals [that wronged her].”

Bernice is honest, however, in admitting that emulating those qualities of her parents— adopting the principles of forgiveness, and modeling selflessness— was no easy task.

“I had to struggle for years with all of the anger that I had,” she said. “I started developing hate for white people because I felt like they killed my father, and some of that is because I am still grieving.”

Despite the grief, she continues on and carries the torch for the family. Bernie’s focus is on helping future generations learn and live out the principles modeled by her parents, by seeking true justice for others, and walking in mercy, and humility.

"When you start practicing in this vein — doing justice, and loving mercy as you do justice, and walking humbly before your God— it invites God into the equation and gives Him room to operate,” she said. “If I honor Him, He’s gonna honor me.”

Watch the full video below.