Rev. Dr. MLK: How to Love Your Enemies

On the U.S. holiday set apart to honor the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. it seems only right to take a look at some of his sermons. He was, after all, a Preacher.

He gave a sermon in 1957 on Matthew 5:43-45 which has particular relevance today. In the polarized worldly environment we live in today where many people regard those with whom they disagree as enemies, Jesus’s commandment to love your enemies often comes to mind.

But that is easier said than done. When I have been reminded of the commandment to love my enemies usually the only thing I can think of to do is to pray for divine help in coming to love my enemies.

Well, I believe sometimes God answers prayers by leading me to the wisdom of others.

Here in one of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s sermons is his advice on how to come to love your enemies:

“… within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. When we come to see this, we take a different attitude toward individuals. The
person who hates you most has some good in him. Even the nation that hates you most has some good in it. Even the race that hates you most has some good in it. And when you come to the point that you look in the face of every man and see deep down within him what religion calls the “image of God,” you begin to love him in spite of. No matter what he does, you see God’s image there. And there is an element of goodness that he can never slough off. Discover the element of good in your enemy. And as you seek to hate him, find the center of goodness and place your attention there and you will take a new attitude. (emphasis mine)

“Loving Your Enemies” Sermon, Nov 17, 1957

Thank you Jesus for the wisdom of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in answer to my prayers to help me learn to love my enemies.


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