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John Locke

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He [Jesus] not only forbids actual uncleanness, but all irregular desires, upon pain of hell-fire ; causeless divorces ; swearing in conversation, as well as forswearing in judgment; revenge ; retaliation ; ostentation of charity, of devotion, and of fasting ; repetitions in prayer, covetousness, worldly care, censoriousness : and on the other side commands loving our enemies, doing good to those that hate us, blessing those that curse us, praying for those that despitefully use us ; patience and meekness under injuries, forgiveness, liberality, compassion : and closes all; his particular injunctions, with this general golden rule, Matt. VII. 12, "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do you even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets." And to show how much He is in earnest, and expects obedience to these laws, He tells them, Luke VI. 35, That if they obey, " great shall be their reward".
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§ 116

 
John Locke

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Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, "Love your enemies." It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. That’s why Jesus says, "Love your enemies." Because if you hate your enemies, you have no way to redeem and to transform your enemies. But if you love your enemies, you will discover that at the very root of love is the power of redemption. You just keep loving people and keep loving them, even though they’re mistreating you. Here’s the person who is a neighbor, and this person is doing something wrong to you and all of that. Just keep being friendly to that person. Keep loving them. Don’t do anything to embarrass them. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with bitterness because they’re mad because you love them like that. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.

 
Martin Luther King
 

But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever flowing stream." Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal . . ." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?

 
Martin Luther King
 

"You look like a girl with a secret," Matt said. "I think it must be the smile."
She moved closer to him, which was very close, and lowered her voice. "Can you keep a secret?"
Matt smiled with one side of his mouth to show that he knew what was coming. She said it anyway. "So can I."

 
Larry Niven
 

[Martin Luther King, Jr.] concluded the learned discourse that came to be known as the 'loving your enemies' sermon this way: "So this morning, as I look into your eyes and into the eyes of all my brothers in Alabama and all over America and over the world, I say to you,'I love you. I would rather die than hate you.'" Go ahead and reread that. That is hands down the most beautiful, strange, impossible, but most of all radical thing a human being can say. And it comes from reading the most beautiful, strange, impossible, but most of all radical civics lesson ever taught, when Jesus of Nazareth went to a hill in Galilee and told his disciples, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you."

 
Sarah Vowell
 

On the bus going home I heard a most fascinating conversation between an old man and woman. "What a thing, though," the old woman said. "You'd hardly credit it." "She's always made a fuss of the whole family, but never me," the old man said. "Does she have a fire when the young people go to see her?" "Fire?" "She won't get people seeing her without warmth." "I know why she's doing it. Don't think I don't," the old man said. "My sister she said to me, 'I wish I had your easy life.' Now that upset me. I was upset by the way she phrased herself. 'Don't talk to me like that,' I said. 'I've only got to get on the phone and ring a certain number,' I said, 'to have you stopped.'" "Yes," the old woman said, "And you can, can't you?" "Were they always the same?" she said. "When you was a child? Can you throw yourself back? How was they years ago?" "The same," the old man said. "Wicked, isn't it?" the old woman said. "Take care, now" she said, as the old man left her. He didn't say a word but got off the bus looking disgruntled.

 
Joe Orton
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