One of my greatest teachers has been Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I find his teachings so uplifting and inspiring. I encourage you, if you ever fear afraid or downhearted, turn to the mighty Reverend King. He was a powerful preacher and teacher. The master pastor!
On this President’s Day I’m reflecting on current events and past. In the United States there’s a great deal of information coming forward that a foreign government intent on creating chaos in our country has made tremendous efforts to divide us by playing on our fears, opinions, judgments and fantasies. Divide and conquer seems to be a strategy that’s unfolding all over the place – but we know better.
Spirit is leading us to see the fruitlessness of divisiveness. We are on a trajectory to release all these old fear-based, grabby, greedy, ancient patterns of attack and defend.
What I see in all of this is that the darkness IS being brought to the light. And that reminds me of a man many believe was our greatest president, who helped the American people rise to the light in our darkest days, Abraham Lincoln.
I have been deeply moved by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s telling of this story of Lincoln’s exceptional leadership and the power of redemption.
On this President’s Day, let us celebrate our ability to navigate the most difficult of times and bring ourselves to the higher ground through extending Love and compassion!
Here are the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his powerful “Loving Our Enemies” sermon:
“I think that Jesus says, ‘Love your enemies.’ It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. That’s why Jesus says, “Love your enemies.”
Because if you hate your enemies, you have no way to redeem and to transform your enemies. But if you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption. You just keep loving people and keep loving them, even though they’re mistreating you. Here’s the person who is a neighbor, and this person is doing something wrong to you and all of that. Just keep being friendly to that person. Keep loving them. Don’t do anything to embarrass them. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long.
Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with bitterness because they’re mad because you love them like that. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. 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.
I think of one of the best examples of this. We all remember the great president of this United States, Abraham Lincoln—these United States rather. You remember when Abraham Lincoln was running for president of the United States, there was a man who ran all around the country talking about Lincoln. He said a lot of bad things about Lincoln, a lot of unkind things. And sometimes he would get to the point that he would even talk about his looks, saying, ‘You don’t want a tall, lanky, ignorant man like this as the president of the United States.’ He went on and on and on and went around with that type of attitude and wrote about it.
Finally, one day Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States. And if you read the great biography of Lincoln, if you read the great works about him, you will discover that as every president comes to the point, he came to the point of having to choose a Cabinet.
And then came the time for him to choose a Secretary of War. He looked across the nation, and decided to choose a man by the name of Mr. Stanton. And when Abraham Lincoln stood around his advisors and mentioned this fact, they said to him: ‘Mr. Lincoln, are you a fool? Do you know what Mr. Stanton has been saying about you? Do you know what he has done, tried to do to you? Do you know that he has tried to defeat you on every hand? Do you know that, Mr. Lincoln? Did you read all of those derogatory statements that he made about you?’ Abraham Lincoln stood before the advisors around him and said: ‘Oh yes, I know about it; I read about it; I’ve heard him myself. But after looking over the country, I find that he is the best man for the job.’
Mr. Stanton did become Secretary of War, and a few months later, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. And if you go to Washington, you will discover that one of the greatest words or statements ever made by, about Abraham Lincoln was made about this man Stanton.
And as Abraham Lincoln came to the end of his life, Stanton stood up and said: ‘Now he belongs to the ages.’ And he made a beautiful statement concerning the character and the stature of this man. If Abraham Lincoln had hated Stanton, if Abraham Lincoln had answered everything Stanton said, Abraham Lincoln would have not transformed and redeemed Stanton. Stanton would have gone to his grave hating Lincoln, and Lincoln would have gone to his grave hating Stanton. But through the power of love Abraham Lincoln was able to redeem Stanton.
That’s it. There is a power in love that our world has not discovered yet. Jesus discovered it centuries ago. Mahatma Gandhi of India discovered it a few years ago, but most men and most women never discover it. For they believe in hitting for hitting; they believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; they believe in hating for hating; but Jesus comes to us and says, ‘This isn’t the way.’ And oh this morning, as I think of the fact that our world is in transition now. Our whole world is facing a revolution. Our nation is facing a revolution, our nation. One of the things that concerns me most is that in the midst of the revolution of the world and the midst of the revolution of this nation, that we will discover the meaning of Jesus’ words.”
I invite you to consider this story and Dr. King’s advice to us. Who can you change your mind about and redeem today? Are you willing?
Let us bring the darkness to the light. This is our spiritual responsibility. May truth prevail on earth!
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