Today we celebrate the life and achievements of the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. He is best known for leading the civil rights movement in 1950’s and 1960’s and was assassinated in 1968.
He is responsible for many great works and one I’d like to share today is from his book Strength to Love about loving your enemies:
We must recognize that the evil deed of the enemy neighbor, the thing that hurts, never quite expresses all that he is. An element of goodness may be found even in our worst enemy. Each of us is something of a schizophrenic personality, tragically divided against ourselves. A persistent civil war rages within all of our lives.
There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. When we look beneath the surface, beneath the impulsive evil deed, we within our enemy neighbor a measure of goodness and know that the viciousness and evilness of his acts are not quite representative of all that he is. We see him in a new light. We recognize that his hate grows out of fear, pride, ignorance, prejudice, and misunderstanding, but in spite of this, we know God’s image is ineffably etched in his being. Then we love our enemies by realizing that they are not totally bad and that they are not beyond the reach of God’s redemptive love.
The section reminds me so much of our current political divisions and neither side is innocent. We would all do well to remember that everyone has conflicting views, and everyone has thoughts that the culture hates. It’s what makes us each unique and looking at the world through someone else’s point of view can make us all stronger.