I watched a one-hour documentary about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the other night on PBS. I was deeply struck by King’s assertion that he willingly continued civil rights protests in the face of his fear and knowledge that he was risking his life because it was “redemptive.” What did King mean by this and why is it important for us to remember?
What King meant by redemptive power is the power of loving your enemies which was the central tenet of his nonviolent protests during the civil rights movement. This power found in loving your enemies is a redemptive power, that is, a power of love to TRANSFORM hate into love. This is even more important for all of us to remember and practice today as everyone feels under attack in our hyper-politically correct and terrorism environment. How do we practice this redemptive power of love?
I have found that the way we practice the redemptive power of love is to love ourselves enough to speak our constructive and positive truth with no fear of retribution and no desire to harm the other. Many across the planet are resorting to violence and destruction and they are frustrated at seeing no change for the better in their circumstances. The reason they see no change is because hate is not redemptive. Hate does not transform for the better. Hate is destructive yet it’s practiced worldwide. King’s message of redemption is more critical than ever.
Remember, Light irradiates and darkness swallows up. Love is the light that brings transformation that one may move out of darkness to a constructive form of living.