STRENGTH TO LOVE
“You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven…” Matthew 5:43-45 NLT
“I’ve decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
As Black people, we have existed with the existential burden of racism ever since we have arrived in America. The burden is like a yoke around our necks placed by some white people who deny us justice and equality. And some by word and deed deny that we are human beings created too in the image of God.
These people see us an enemy to their supremacy. They continue to see us as threats and people to be controlled and manipulated. Some even use the cloak of Christianity to suppress us. In practice, they are enemies of our freedom, enemies to our receiving justice, enemies to our peace and prosperity.
What should be our response to the denials? What should be our response to the delays in justice and equality? What should be our response to discrimination? If Dr. King were alive, he would tell us—love.
It takes spiritual strength to love those who hate, those who marginalize, those who oppress, and those who discriminate. One must sum up everything within that is right to love this way. Loving our enemies is one of the most Christ-like things we believers can do on earth. We are even charged by Jesus to “pray for” not against them.
In his book Strength to Love, Dr. King said: “Hate cannot drive out darkness, only light can to that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”
Prayer: God give us the strength to obey you when it comes to our enemies. It is so easy to hate in return and desire to retaliate. Lead us in a path that is higher than our emotions and thoughts to be like Christ to love our enemies. Amen. © 2020 Dr. John Ogletree – Houston, TX