In a sermon entitled, “Loving Your Enemies,” Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote the following:
“To our most bitter opponents we say, “…Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws because non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process and our victory will be a double victory.”
What a beautiful message on the power of love. Perhaps even more amazing than his words, however, is the fact that King wrote them from a prison cell during the Montgomery bus conflict. And so important was it to King that this message be shared, that on the Sunday morning in November 1957 when he delivered the sermon at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, he took the pulpit against doctor’s orders. He was so sick that he arrived only in time to deliver the message and then was immediately ordered back to bed.
As I read King’s words, I wondered what my approach was to “winning over” my enemies. Do I try to beat them into submission through well-worded arguments? Do I drive them away with hateful words and actions? Do I ignore them, silently hoping they will go away? Or, like King, do I appeal to their hearts and attempt to win a double victory by relentlessly loving them?
Christ’s approach was love – what’s yours? –Dave
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” (Matt 5:43-45)
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