Martin Luther King — Loving Your Enemies

Audio record­ing 1957 and transcript.

For Martin Luther King the ethics of Love was a life-long focus and inner rese­arch. He con­si­de­red the chal­len­ge as well as the oppor­tu­ni­ty of the­se words trans­mit­ted from Jesus — “Love your enemies” in the ser­mon below, which he enti­t­led “Loving your enemies.” 

It deeply tou­ches me to hear the love in his address to the black com­mu­ni­ty of his church in Montgomery, Alabama — his words invi­te me into a spi­ri­tu­al and rich world. In the midst of the fight for civil rights and human digni­ty for all, that invol­ved hand­ling inten­se amounts of inner suf­fe­ring from dai­ly con­ta­ct with segre­ga­ti­on, he is asking peop­le to start a spi­ri­tu­al inner jour­ney by loo­king squa­re­ly and honest­ly at their own inner and outer ani­mo­si­ty for man, to work and stretch in order to embrace that ani­mo­si­ty insi­de them­sel­ves and to use that knowing to open up a path to huma­ni­ze their opp­res­sor. Breathtaking. Engaging. Empowering.

How inspi­ring for me to hear him name the cost of hating — des­troy­ing the per­so­na­li­ty of the hater. Turning the world of values upsi­de down. And is it not true — can we see this hap­pen insi­de of us, when we give in to hate? And is it not true, when we hear the rich or power­ful sta­te their view about life, such as Vladimir Putin say­ing: “There is no hap­pi­ness in life.”

This makes it easier to under­stand that a per­son needs love most, when he or she seems the least invi­t­ing to us to give it to them with joy or even wil­ling­ness. And that my actions to ask for love when I need it most, will pro­bab­ly also be hate­ful and litt­le invi­t­ing. Can I learn?

There is much more. Please lis­ten for yourself to the words of Martin Luther King and see how rele­vant you find them for yourself today. Martin held the ser­mon on November 17, 1957. With deep gra­ti­tu­de. Subtitles available. 

I pro­vi­de a tran­script of this ser­mon here.