Repaying Evil with Blessing

This is where my mind and my heart may be found lately.

From Strength to Love by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Free at last. Free at last. Thanks God Almighty, I'm free at last.

Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last

“We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to use what you will, and we shall continue to love you. Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and we shall still love you. Send you hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and leave us half dead and we shall still love you. But be assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.”


Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing,
because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

– 1 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

What if the most powerful were to do this? We know what it looks like when a weak minority endures suffering with great love; King’s life shows us this picture rather well.

But what if the strong humbled himself and chose to bless those who would cause him injury?
What would that look like?


22 Responses

  1. Only the truly ‘strong’ are willing to risk the vulnerability of ‘weakness’ so that HIS power can be made perfect through it.

    Yes, He does ‘work it together for the greatest good’, but that doesn’t lessen the pain that comes in between (when the vulnerability is taken advantage of by those who perceive themselves as ‘stronger’).

    “What would that look like?”
    Simply… Jesus

    P.S. Great quote! Jesus was obviously in him (MLKJ) too!

  2. Yeah D, that my take as well.

  3. This is life changing to inherit this mindset. Can imagine from small to large how this would impact our society? From marriages, to work places, to the media, and our culture? What a wonderful place if we all would walk as Jesus would have us. It starts with one person at a time…
    You wrote a powerful post today Ric. Thank you for planting this seed.

  4. Hi Kim. Yes, this mindset IS life changing … for me it is turning everything upside down. Thanks for your thoughts.

  5. We rarely see that, though, do we? The example are almost always of the weak and oppressed having this response ( I cant’ think of any examples where the strong and powerful, other than God, has done this) Why?

    Maybe it’s impossible. Maybe being strong and powerful is part of the problem. God had to give up his power and become man for us to understand this. He had to become the victim. The scapegoat. If we hold on to our power, our superiority, can we emulate Christ? Can a strong society emulate Christ and still remain strong?

  6. I often wonder if this is why ‘the rich young ruler’ was given the answer he dreaded the most.

  7. Great post Ric. I live for the day when the young men and women of the world serve their countries in Peace Corps instead of the Army.

  8. Thanks Ed. In my bizarre mind, I imagine a day when we love our modern day terrorists with the same heart MLK loved his terrorists or better yet with the same passionate heart that Jesus loves us.

  9. Great ideals. I hold them as well. But until then, I am grateful for the young men and woman who are willing to protect us (and others) from those terrorists (and others).

    Unless we all want to take Gandhi’s advice to the Jews. Doubtful.

  10. That’s why I choose the word “imagine”… such a day exists only in my imagination. And I am grateful as well. Very grateful.

    Gandhi’s advice to the Jews?

  11. Ric, that quote from MLK just floored me. I never knew how powerfully Jesus resided in this man until now. I have to make a windows wallpaper out of that.

  12. Hey angelbearoh, In my mind, I believe Martin LOVED (well LOVES) Jesus. Hands down. No Question.

  13. brother king always has a good word for us today. thanks for putting this up.

    one of the things I’ve always admired about you eric is your peaceful spirit, which exudes even in the blogging world (here and on other blogs…).

    I think the challenge with imagining a world where we love our modern day terrorists is that we’ve retained our ability to imagine a better end, but we’ve lost our ability to imagine means to get there. Everyone wants a better tomorrow, but they’ve stopped imagining today ways to get there.

    And of course, once they have imagined different ways, they have to do them. Aye, there’s the rub.

  14. Thanks you for those kind words Brian.

    “Aye, there’s the rub.”

    I have met and exceeded my “rub” quota for this week…thankyouverymuch.

  15. Ah, sorry. I answered your question on Bads thread. Gandhi once advised some Jewish leaders that the should not resist the evil of the Nazis but in fact they should consider mass suicide.

  16. Great post Poet Man! 🙂 A similar thought to these was in my mind this morning before i read your to post my own version 🙂

    As for Ghandi’s advice – i never met the man but have great respect for him. i rather fancy Ghandi liked to point out hypocrisy when and where he came into contact with it.

    I think his comment to the leaders was said in order for them to consider the implications of their own belief more carefully as their hatred of Hitler and Germany grew.

    When your God commands you not to kill and your Saviour commands you to turn the other cheek that it might be struck also by your enemy – that you are to love those who spitefully use you and you then order ‘pre-emptive’ strikes from the safety of your office while your own citizens and those of other nations have to die and be killed and kill as a result and then claim you are a man of God and Christ is the ultimate in hypocrisy in my view.

    and so-called christians voted him into office a second time??

    John Lennon we need you now!

    just imagine! if you can imagine it, you can do it – if you seek His Will and strength.

    and His Love.


  17. […] Love your enemies…. September 13, 2008 Posted by lovewillbringustogether in Religion/Spirituality. trackback A brother on the other side of this world to me has a great post here. […]

  18. Hey Love, sounds like you’ve been thinking about this for sometime now. I gotta go check out your post.

  19. Matthew 20:24-28 – we must have a servant’s heart.

  20. Amen Papa. At an individual and personal level I’ve witnessed this. Nationally, not so much. Could these same words come from a president?

  21. I believe it would look like anarchy.

  22. Well now, we can’t have that can we.

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