The last few days have been very hard for a lot of people in the United States. The murder of George Floyd has opened a wound in America that has been festering for many years. The reactions encompass the entire human emotion, but the loudest response, or the one given the most attention, seems to be one of vengeance, hate, and violence. My children have been asking a lot of questions.
I asked my children if they read any of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches in school. They informed me they have not. When I was a child every January, we read excerpts from his speeches and discussed the civil rights movement from the late 50s to the early 60s. I guess, at least in my children’s school, they no longer do this. I am not sure why. It might be because he was a Christian preacher, and his messages mainly deal with the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The foundation of Jesus’ message was love. It has been so long in this country since we had a message of love. I haven’t seen one in our media or government for a very long time. We are encouraged to respond on emotion and not logic. This week, I had my oldest two daughters read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech titled, Loving Your Enemies, based on the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 5:43-48.
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.
My children and I didn’t discuss the speech, as there is no need. The message is unmistakable. I planned on highlighting a few quotes for my blog, but there were too many I wanted to share. If you have never heard or read this speech, I encourage you to do so now.
King, M.L., Jr. Loving Your Enemies. Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama, on 17 November 1957. MLKEC.