Martin Luther King, Jr. offered advice on “Loving Your Enemies” in a sermon was first given at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama in November 1957 during the bus boycott. He later revised it when he was in a Georgia jail. Responding to the question “how do we love our enemies?”, King stated:
“First, we must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.
“Second, 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.
“Third, we must not seek to defeat or humiliate the enemy but to win his friendship and understanding….Every word and deed must contribute to an understanding with the enemy and release those vast reservoirs of goodwill which have been blocked by impenetrable walls of hate.” (Strength to Love. Harper & Row, 1963. pp. 35-36).
Howard W. Hallman is author of Living in God’s Kingdom: Here and Now, available from Amazon.