TUESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2016
Key Bible Verse: “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matthew 5:44)
Dig Deeper: Matthew 5:38-47
John Perkins played a key role in my own enlightenment on racial issues. In 1974, ten years after the landmark Civil Rights Bill, I accepted his invitation to visit the small town of Mendenhall, just south of Jackson.
As a black minister, Perkins had lived through the worst nightmares of the Civil Rights movement. I hears the stories of his own encounters with violent sheriffs and the Ku Klux Klan during the week I spent in Mississippi.
After one horrific night of torture in jail, Perkins underwent a crisis of faith:
“It was time for me to decide if I really did believe what I’d so often professed, that only in the love of Christ, not in power of violence, is there any hope for me or the world. I began to see how hate could destroy me. In the end, I had to agree with Dr. King that God wanted us to return good for evil, not evil for evil. ‘Love your enemy,’ Jesus said, And I determined to do it. It’s a profound, mysterious truth, Jesus’s concept of love overpowering hate. I may not see it in my lifetime. But I know it’s true. Because on that bed, full of bruises and stitches, God made it true in me. I got a transfusion of hope.”
– Philip Yancey in Welcoming Justice
My Response: A time when I have actually seen love overpower hate was …
Thought to Apply: [Love] 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 Jr. (clergyman, civil rights leader)
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