“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
“If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to get back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:27-36.
This is the most counterintuitive teaching you are likely to hear. But that is because it comes from another world, another dimension, “where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:20). It is our ultimate destination, and we are here to invite even our enemies to come with us, not to defeat them in the temporal world.
This is quite revolutionary. You set yourself free from anger, victimization and revenge without a political movement, riot, or even permission. You take control by letting go. You demonstrate the kingdom of God and win the hearts and minds of some of your oppressors. You won’t win them all, but at least they didn’t convert YOU. Only when you become like them do you really lose.
Dr. King and his followers won the hearts and minds of a generation by silently suffering abuse, on the nightly news, from their racist enemies. Most people knew that was wrong, and it had to be made right. Had he incorporated violence, riots, and broadly accused all whites, whether they were guilty or not, we’d still be segregated today. Maybe we are going back to that now.