Love for Enemies

Category Archives: Love for Enemies

Welcome Home Mr President

Hubert Humphrey was a former vice-president of the United States. When he died hundreds of people from across the world attended his funeral. All were welcome, but one – former President Richard Nixon, who had not long previously dragged himself and his country through the humiliation and shame of Watergate. As eyes turned away and conversations ran dry around him Nixon could feel the ostracism being ladled out to him.

Then Jimmy Carter, the serving US President, walked into the room. Carter was from a different political party to Nixon and well known for his honesty and integrity. As he moved to his seat President Carter noticed Richard Nixon standing all alone. Carter immediately changed course, walked over to Richard Nixon, held out his hand, and smiling genuinely and broadly embraced Nixon and said “Welcome home, Mr President! Welcome home!”

The incident was reported by Newsweek magazine, which wrote: “If there was a turning point in Nixon’s long ordeal in the wilderness, it was that moment and that gesture of love and compassion.”

Source: Reported in Maxie Dunnam, The Workbook on Living as a Christian, pp.112-113

Martin Luther King on Love

The great American civil rights leader Martin Luther King preached one of his most moving sermons on the title “Loving your enemies”. He was in gaol at the time, imprisoned for daring to suggest that American Negroes should have the same civil rights as other Americans. During his lifetime he had received death threat after death threat, he’d been maliciously accused of being a communist, his house had been bombed, and he was jailed over 20 times. Yet in this sermon he said “hate multiplies hate…in a descending spiral of violence” and is “just as injurious to the person who hates” as to his victim. But “love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend” for it has “creative” and “redemptive” power.

Source: reported in David Garrow, Bearing the Cross. Martin Luther King Jr and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference