Posted by: sean | January 18, 2010

MLK: A Double Victory

Below is one of the most enduring and inspiring Martin Luther King Jr. quotes of all time. Not only does it expell once for all the absurd notion that non-violent enemy love is cowardly but it also shows that such self-sacrificial love is even practical.

I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate, myself, and every time I see it, I say to myself, hate is too great a burden to bear. Somehow we must be able to stand up against our most bitter opponents and say:”We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws and abide by the unjust system, because non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good, so throw us in jail and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and, as difficult as it is, we will still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hour and drag us out on some wayside road and leave us half-dead as you beat us, and we will still love you. Send your propaganda agents around the country and make it appear that we are not fit, culturally and otherwise, for integration, but we’ll still love you. But be assured that we’ll wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves; we will appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.

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Responses

  1. I’d like to ask if anyone has ever heard how resentment destroys.

    The lord said if you come to lord while in slavery, seek not to be otherwise, in prison, seek not to be otherwise, but whatever situation you find yourself in, be content.

    Anyone ever hear of resentment? How bout boasting? Pride and arrogance? The quote sounds like it harbors a bit of all three.

    • There was an excellent 3-part PBS show earlier this year that touched on this topic: This Emotional Life. http://www.pbs.org/thisemotional

      It was about some recent modern ideas in psychology done by and expert about new understandings of psychology. It was narrated by an expert in the field citing research, surveys, interviews with other experts, demonstrations, etc.

      One of the segments in two of the episodes was about how hate and desire for revenge can become self-destructive and doesn’t serve a useful purpose for the person, but ti still eats them up.

  2. I don’t quite understand this concept. My dad went to war (WW2) and so did his brother. He was in the baton march and a prisoner of war for many years. At that time, they had to go. There was no choice and no one had heard of the pacifist view. You went for your families and country and because your friends and neighbors went. But the thing I do understand is that God looked after them. That’s all I know, God kept them. There are times when you just have to follow the dictates of your country or even your job. You don’t know what to do but trust God. I am not talking about wrong doing, I am talking about things you just have to follow because you are not the one in control (boss). The person who refuses to go to war can be hit by a car the next day while the one that goes (I’m not talking about the money wars like Vietnam) is brought home safely by God. It is the trust in God and his son that is the deal. ajc


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