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How hard is it to love those who hate you?

We often seek to hurt those who hurt us, but MLK preached about something much greater than revenge, the power of love...

I’m reflecting on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the revolutionary power of his nonviolent protests and activism. Here is a quote that challenged me and resonated with me today.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Quotes like this sound good, but they are difficult to live by. To me, loving my enemies is challenging since I want them to feel the same way they made me feel. I realize after taking a deep breath and stepping back from the situation that hurt people hurt people. They are often projecting their own frustrations, insecurities, fears, bitterness, and weaknesses onto me. Reacting with vengeance only makes things worse. The Bible verse below gives me more clarity on how I should respond, so that I can accomplish what I really want. If I am genuine and vulnerable with myself, what I most want is for love and respect to be shown to me.

In Luke 6:27-36, the Bible reflects on this principle deeper.

Love for Enemies

27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

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Upon reading MLK’s quote, and realizing that his principles came straight from the Bible, what thoughts do you have about this verse about Loving Your Enemies, to love instead of hate?

Please share your thoughts on this.

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Eleise ClarkGunnells
4 months ago

Those that hate, are annoyed by the demonstration of love. The effort of hate is time consuming, stressful, it will destroy you. Love is light.

Myia Williams
4 months ago

This is a great blog post!

My question is , why do we have to love them ? I’ve always wondered that since I was a kid. Do we really have to hate them? No , but do we really have to love them too ? And this is just a genuine question. Love , to me , is peaceful, happiness , genuine , and kindness. If someone hates me , why do they deserve that from me ?

Just a thought.
But I do try to treat everyone with kindness and respect and if they have different intentions, I normally just keep a distance from them. Out of sight , out of mind.

Jasmine Ellington
4 months ago

For me, it can be hard to love someone that I know hates me. Being a young black businesswoman in today’s world makes it even worse for me. People already hate me because of my skin color, and it makes them hate you even more to know that I’m black & successful.

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