“Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
This seminal quote by Dr. King pretty well summarizes his life’s work.
During the years he was active, Dr. King faced hatred that was so vehement, so rotten, so putrid and so deadly. He knew that the only force more powerful or as powerful as that hatred was love.
Matching hatred with more hatred is like fighting fire with fire. You end up with an inferno. But by fighting fire with water, hatred with love, with the desire to exert oneself for the benefit of another, a vision of ultimate human growth and progress, Dr. King and his allies created a compelling dynamic that tipped the scale away from discrimination, segregation and brutality.
Dr. King today is remembered as a man of profound love who put his life on the line for what he believed was right. He left a lasting impact on our country, our society and the world.
We can’t forget that Dr. King was a human being. He was not a superman but a regular person who used his placement in time and history, his unique situation and his gifts for the betterment of others. The difference between him and others, perhaps, was his recognition that he could make an impact.
Remember that Dr. King envisioned a “Beloved Community.” Kendyl Gibbons, the author of the article “Primal Reverence” that Is the inspiration for this series of blogs, writes that, “The Beloved Community not only says but intuitively feels that what happens to one of us happens to all of us.”
Dr. King understood that what happened to him touched others and that what he did about it also could touch others, and he decided that it was worth it.
Gibbons writes that “the primal experience of reverence also comes in the stories of human lives that move us with their courage, with their dedication to justice or beauty.”
When we witness or learn of the work and efforts of people such as Dr. King, Paul Robeson and my friend Leroy Boyd — the genuine, selfless love that they convey – it rekindles in us a warmth and a hope that the world is, indeed, a decent place. Many of us have been hurt, disappointed, abused or mistreated in the name of so-called love. We may have lost faith that love is even possible or real and instead sought the quick fix, the quick high, of something synthetic – or given up entirely.
Meditation on the deeds of our fellow human beings strengthens in us the knowledge that we are a resilient people capable of great love and that this love has the power to heal and transform.
Our actions may not make the news, but they can make someone’s day.