“Love is a powerful tool, more powerful than hate,” A quote from Dr. King in his “Loving Your Enemies” speech. He believed that to change the world, love has to be extended to everyone, even to our enemies. It mirrored Gandhi message, one who Dr. King looked to for inspiration in the nonviolent justice movement. It’s the message upon which he built his life, that only love is capable of transforming hate into love.
The sermon uses the story of Abraham Lincoln and Mr. Stanton as an example of love driving out hate. It was reported that when Lincoln was running to be president, Stanton did his utmost to ridicule Lincoln. However, when Lincoln was elected, despite criticism from his cabinet, he appointed Stanton as Secretary of War. Many said Lincoln served his people by selecting the best person for the job. Later, many observed how that action by Lincoln transformed the hatred Stanton held in his heart towards Lincoln. When Lincoln was assassinated, it was Stanton who gave one of the most touching speeches.
Dr. King stated “If Abraham Lincoln had hated Stanton … Stanton would have gone to his grave hating Lincoln, and Lincoln would have gone to his grave hating Stanton. … Hate destroys the hater as well as the hated … Because 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. … And by the power of your love they will break down under the load.”
It’s been said that Dr. King was talking about Agape love, that which is understanding, creative, redemptive good will for all humans. It has been said that it’s an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. And many have stated and shown that when you come to love on this level you begin to love your fellow human not because they are likable, but because of the understanding that hate begets hate, force begets force, toughness begets toughness. And it is all just a descending spiral, ultimately ending in destruction for all, including yourself and your seed. So share some love and be the change that you wish to see in our society.
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