There’s another reason why you should love your enemies, and that is because hate distorts the personality of the hater. We usually think of what hate does for the individual hated or the individuals hated or the groups hated. But it is even more tragic, it is even more ruinous and injurious to the individual who hates. You just begin hating somebody, and you will begin to do irrational things. You can’t see straight when you hate. You can’t walk straight when you hate. You can’t stand upright. Your vision is distorted. There is nothing more tragic than to see an individual whose heart is filled with hate. He comes to the point that he becomes a pathological case. […] Hate destroys the very structure of the personality of the hater. […] When you start hating anybody, it destroys the very center of your creative response to life and the universe; so love everybody. Hate at any point is a cancer that gnaws away at the very vital center of your life and your existence. It is like eroding acid that eats away the best and the objective center of your life. So Jesus says love, because hate destroys the hater as well as the hated.
— “Loving Your Enemies,” 1957
Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.
— Strength to Love, 1963
Previous MLK words of wisdom: on audacious faith, on love, and on toughmindedness.
Beautiful. I love that on MLK day, the interwebs is just filled with so much inspiration from this man. And it’s so true: love will set you free. Hatred keeps you connected in ugly, vicious ways to the object of your hatred, but love releases you from the past and lets you pursue your highest purpose.
Happy day to you, Kate.