3: Strength to Love – MLK “Loving Your Enemies”

Episode 3: Strength to Love is about perspective. This episode stands to provide a different light on the finger pointing mentality we sometimes show, and instead, turn the light back on ourselves. We have the ability to chose strength, love, and forgiveness.  This leads to growth, not pain.  We are the master of our fate. We are the captain of our soul.

I open with the Man in the Arena, a speech by Theodore Roosevelt that hammered critics who look down upon people who are trying to make the world a better place.

One of those people was Martin Luther King Jr. He is someone I very much admire. His approach to dealing with hate and negativity is so simple yet very difficult. It starts with analyzing ourselves and forgiveness. We can show the strength to love by looking within. We can heal by actively and intently listening, taking accountability for ourselves, and learning to forgive. That includes forgiving ourselves. His sermon, Loving Your Enemies, is covered in the middle of the podcast.

I close out the episode by providing a way to stand up in the storm and have compassion for those that fail. I provide tenets I try to live by and a social media challenge.

The goal of this episode is to shine light on some of the dark thoughts we have and show you that it’s okay to put the heavy bag of resentment down. It’s time to surrender. Love is the Way.

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Books:

Strength to Love – Martin Luther King Jr.

Be a Good Man

In my last article, Be the Light, I wrote about Martin Luther King Jr’s sermon called, “Loving Your Enemies.” I wrote that we can do better, we just need to open ourselves up and actually listen to each other.  In order to heal, we should begin by analyzing ourselves, taking ownership of our own actions, utilizing purposeful/healthy communication, and learning to forgive.  What I am seeing is “sides” that want to prove they are right. Sides that want to defeat, point fingers, or share things on social media that are aimed at defeating instead of healing.  I see people sharing what they think is for the greater good, but in fact it is adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Spreading hate and negativity multiplies hate and negativity and I see what it is doing to us.  This is a spiral of destruction that is rooted in darkness. It corrodes our thoughts. This is not the path to the mountaintop. 

Social media posts and what people share have consequences.

Pointing out how the strong person stumbles is not the way. The credit belongs to the people who are actually in the arena, trying to be good people. They stumble.  We stumble. The way to help each other is to be good people and to support others.  To stand up in the storm and have compassion for those who fail. This starts with us. We always have a choice when it comes to our actions. I would like you to consider this when on social media. Think to yourself: Is what I’m about to post going to help or hurt anyone?  Is this going to spread love or hate?  Sometimes hate is deceptive.  It’s easy to spread hate disguised as love, because you might not even realize it.  The devil is deceitful. Mind your words because they matter. You don’t know who you are affecting.  Continue reading

Be the Light

The degree to which we are able to forgive determines the degree to which we are able to love our enemies. My friends, we have followed the so-called practical way for too long a time now, and it has led inexorably to deeper confusion and chaos. -MLK Jr.

I wanted to write this piece because I know we have a chance. There is good in us, there is light that wants to connect. After my conversation with my friend Sal Masekela (WODcast Podcast 240 1:15 and 280 53:40) seeing the response from the listeners, it reinforced the my belief that we can do better.  I am in a unique position that allows me to use my experience for good.  We all are.  We just need to open ourselves up and actually listen to each other. I mean actually listen to understand, not just hear and wait to deliver your point.  That is “versus” and a selfish mentality that does not lead to empathy and growth.  I see sides that want to prove they are right.  It hurts when I see darkness where there should be light.  It’s time to set down that bag of judgement, anger, bitterness, and retaliation.  Love is lighter and lifts us all.

Matin Luther King did many sermons that have impact on society today.  The quote in the photo below is from a sermon he did at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in 1957.  The relevance of his words feel like they could have been easily said today. It deals with learning to love your adversaries. “Loving your enemies” was so basic to King and part of his basic philosophical and theological orientation—the whole idea of love, the whole philosophy of love. This applies not only to people, but to situations and circumstances.  If we were to ask King today Continue reading