“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”
Today as we reflect on the life of Martin Luther King Jr, I looked into the many powerful messages that he gave. The one that is most well known if the speech of 1963 where he called for civil and economic rights and an end to racism in the United States.
Right now, with all the crazy politics, headline news, and the topic freedom of speech, bitterness and hatred are so obvious. It is spilling over into our families, friends, and churches. If someone has an opinion or view that differs there is so much hatred, to the point of violence.
We are losing sight of people and it is becoming more of a fight to be right and a right to fight.
Although the speech of 1963 is the most quoted, MLK Jr. gave other sermons that are just as powerful. One that I think he would want to remind us of today is ~` “Loving Your Enemies.”
In his sermon, I found –
4 Perspective On How To Love Our Enemies
1. Taking A Look At Ourselves
Humility is a constant surrender. When we feel that instant heated rush of being offended it helps to take a deep breath and look at ourselves.
“There might be something within you that arouses the tragic hate response in the other individual.”
He states that there will be obvious shallow and superficial reasons others do not like us or even hate us, but he brings us to the story in Matthew 7:5,
“How is it that you see the splinter in your brother’s eye and fail to see the plank in your own eye?” And this is one of the tragedies of human nature. So, we begin to love our enemies and love those persons that hate us whether in collective life or individual life by looking at ourselves.”
2. Look For Some Good In That Person
“Realize that there is some good there and look at those good points which will over-balance the bad points.”
When I stop and let God’s love replace my human logic, I can find a common ground. I often realize that we are usually wanting the same outcome and actually agree on more things than we disagree on.
He goes on to remind us that, “there is something of a civil war going on within all of our lives.” He associates this with the Apostle Paul in Romans 7:5.
“I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do.”
3. A Call To Surrender
“When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it.”
He calls us to actually take the example of David in 1 Samuel and restrain from taking the opportunity to avenge ourselves. That is love!!
“It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.”
Why is Mr. King asking a group of persecuted people to turn around and love instead of dip from the cup of bitterness. Because “hate for hate only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe.”
It never ends! He tells us that it takes a very strong person to end the chain of hate.
“Somebody must have religion enough and morality enough to cut it off and inject within the very structure of the universe that strong and powerful element of love.”
It was the center of Jesus’ thinking. It is the greatest commandment of all.
4. Love Has Within It A Redemptive Power
“If you hate your enemies, you have no way to redeem and to transform your enemies. But if you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption. There is something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So, love your enemies.”
So, Love your enemies!