Tuesday, September 1, 2009

STEPS IN REDEMPTIVE LOVE

Resisting evil nonviolently is not for cowards or vengeance seekers

REDIRECTING ANGER.  Observing all the back-and-forth in the current health care reform dialog (if that’s what we’re calling it; personally, I don’t think we’ve yet gotten to the point of civil dialog.), I’ve been thinking about something Martin Luther King, Jr. talked about.  More than 40 years ago, King challenged civil rights activists to focus their anger away from destructive means and ends.  He reflected on the transformation of anger into redemptive love after he committed to the way of nonviolent resistance in response to the evil of racism.  The steps in redemptive love, he concluded, are:

1. First, “It is not a method for cowards, for it resists evil; it is not passive.”

2. Second, “it does not seek to defeat or humiliate the opponent, but to win his or her friendship and understanding.”

3. Third, it directs its attack “against forces of evil rather than against persons who happen to be doing the evil.”

4. Fourth, “it entails a willingness to accept suffering without retaliation…to accept violence if necessary, but never to inflict it.”

5. Fifth, it “avoids not only external physical violence but also the internal violence of spirit.”


HEART CHECK.  I wonder if I am engaging these principles in my writing and speaking on behalf of health care reform, a movement I am convinced is every bit as important as the civil rights movement of a generation ago?  I challenge myself to speak and act in such a way as to seek not only to overcome the wrongs in our health insurance and health care system that deny 46 million Americans and put more at economic and personal risk, but--if at all possible--to win the minds and hearts of those who defend the status quo.

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility.

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