The Forgotten Legacy of Dr. King

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. day, Dr. Gregory Boyd reminds us of an oft-forgotten facet of his legacy:

King’s message on equality usually gets stressed but his more fundamental call to love indiscriminately and to refuse violence is forgotten.

Boyd’s tweet reminded me to post one of my favorite quotes from Dr. King’s essay, Where Do We Go from Here?:

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. … Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

And as my friend David Calavan points out, if you’ve never read his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, you really owe it to yourself to give it a read.

May the words of Dr. King find lodging in your heart this day.

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