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Martin Luther King Jr.: Meditations On Love Over Hate

Today, we celebrate and honor Martin Luther King Jr., and reflect on his potent messages on how love triumphs hate. In many ways, King was a prophet of love, as bell hooks writes in her essay collection all about love. Certainly ahead of his time, King’s profound vision of the world as a loving and peaceful place were not merely a Utopian fantasy. We must return to love being at the root of everything, because without it, we cannot create a future that is sustainable for the new generations.

In a 1967 lecture protesting war, King said: “When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality.”

Keeping King’s definition of love at the forefront of our minds, here are various quotes from the Civil Rights activist to ruminate on.

1. “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

2. “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”

3. “Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”

 4. “Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love. Love is not emotional bash; it is not empty sentimentalism. It is the active outpouring of one’s whole being into the being of another.”

5. “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”

King's Question 'Where Do We Go From Here?' Frames This Year's MLK Events |  UVA Today

6. “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.”

7. “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”

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

9. “There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”

10. “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

 11. “Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

12. “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

13. “Hate is just as injurious to the hater as it is to the hated. Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Many of our inner conflicts are rooted in hate. This is why psychiatrists say, “Love or perish.” Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

14. “In some not too distant tomorrow the radiant stars of love and brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”

15. “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 shall continue to love you.”

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Program | Undergraduate Students | College  of Liberal Arts

16. “If one loves an individual merely on account of his friendliness, he loves him for the sake of the benefits to be gained from the friendship, rather than for the friend’s own sake. Consequently, the best way to assure oneself that love is disinterested is to have love for the enemy-neighbor from whom you can expect no good in return, but only hostility and persecution.”

17. “That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.”

18. “You know, a lot of people don’t love themselves. And they go through life with deep and haunting emotional conflicts. So the length of life means that you must love yourself. And you know what loving yourself also means? It means that you’ve got to accept yourself.”

Ayanna Nicole

Hi! I’m Ayanna, a 28-year-old writer and artist. Although I graduated from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte with two degrees in art and psychology, I’ve had a passion for writing for as long as I can remember. By following my dreams and utilizing my creativity, I designed Jaro Magazine with the ultimate intention of bringing more positive stories in the black community to the forefront, while also highlighting our versatile and vibrant culture through Jaro’s four modes: film, books, art, and music. I’m into spirituality, nature walks, music festivals, poetry, traveling without a destination in mind, painting, and discussing everything out of the ordinary with other curious minds.

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