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Loving Your Enemies

Sermon by Martin Luther King Jr.

Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church
Montgomery, Alabama, 17 November 1957.


Dr. King preaches on Jesus' commandment to love our enemies and suggests that while this is a very difficult thing to, it is both possible and essential for one to live as a good Christian or a good human being. It is a shining example of the philosophy of Nonviolence and Christian pacifism.

How does he suggest learning to love your enemies? Dr King suggests that the first step is to look deeply at ourselves and to acknowledge that in each person we dislike there is still some good qualities that we can admire and love them in spite of it ("within the worst of us, there is some good").

Famous Quote from Loving Your Enemies

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. "
- Martin Luther King


This quote went "viral" on the internet, after the killing of Osama Bin Laden by the US government. While the mainstream news hailed the killing and many people celebrated the killing as a victory and even danced in the street, many others including myself agreed with Dr. King, feeling that no death should ever be celebrated and that responding to violence with violence will never solve our world's problems, but as Mahatma Gandhi, one of Dr. King's primary sources of inspiration said, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind".

Full Text and Audio of the Sermon

Read in Full: Full text of this speech is available at  

Is the Loving Your Enemies Speech in the public domain?

Many sites claim this sermon is in the public domain but I have found no reference to confirm this. I personally doubt that this is the case as Loving Your Enemies has been published in a book of Martin Luther King's speeches called Strength to Love. Please contact me if you have conclusive data in either direction. In the meantime, I encourage people to refrain from suggesting this speach is in the public domain and not to distribute or display it without permission.

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