Honoring Courage: MLK

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”

“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, ‘Love your enemies.’  It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power.  And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals.  Just keep being friendly to that person.  Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long.  Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning.  They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them.  And by the power of your love they will break down under the load.  That’s love, you see.  It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love.  There’s something about love that builds up and is creative.  There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.”

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’  But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.  Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

“Another way that you love your enemy is this: When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it. There will come a time, in many instances, when the person who hates you most, the person who has misused you most, the person who has gossiped about you most, the person who has spread false rumors about you most, there will come a time when you will have an opportunity to defeat that person.  It might be in terms of a recommendation for a job; it might be in terms of helping that person to make some move in life.  That’s the time you must do it.  That is the meaning of love.  In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about.  It’s not merely an emotional something.  Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men.  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.”

“One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying.  A persistent schizophrenia leaves so many of us tragically divided against ourselves.  On the one hand, we proudly profess certain sublime and noble principles, but on the other hand, we sadly practice the very antithesis of these principles.  How often are our lives characterized by a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds!  We talk eloquently about our commitment to the principles of Christianity, and yet our lives are saturated with the practices of paganism.  We proclaim our devotion to democracy, but we sadly practice the very opposite of the democratic creed.  We talk passionately about peace, and at the same time, we assiduously prepare for war.  We make our fervent pleas for the high road of justice, and then we tread unflinchingly the low road of injustice.  This strange dichotomy, this agonizing gulf between the ought and the is, represents the tragic theme of man’s earthly pilgrimage.”

“It is cheerful to God when you rejoice or laugh from the bottom of your heart.”

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