Why should we love our enemies?

Why should we love our enemies? The first reason is pretty obvious. 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. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. So when Jesus says “Love your enemies” [Matt. 5:44], he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation’. – Martin Luther King Jnr, Strength to Love (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977), 53.


  1. Jason,
    I appreciate the content of your last few posts. Thanks for sounding a call to make peace with and love our enemies. I don’t get it entirely, but it’s powerful and good and right.
    Thanks be to God.
    God help us.


  2. Hi Jason,
    Yes – I also have appreciated your reflections here. To MLK we could add the insistence of Yoder:

    “Jesus says that by loving their enemies his disciples will be like their heavenly father. This is said of no other ethical issue”

    Yoder, John Howard. The War of the Lamb: The Ethics of Nonviolence and Peacemaking, 79

    “the culmination of the newness which the kingdom brings is love not only for friend but for the enemy, because therein one sees the nature of the Father who “himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked” (Luke 6:35)”

    Yoder, John Howard. Nonviolence – a Brief History : The Warsaw Lectures, p. 89

    cheers, Geoff


  3. Thanks for those quotes Geoff. As usual Yoder sees things with startling clarity. I think I’ll post them on my blog.


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