Summary

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

Strength to Love includes several of the sermons that Dr. King, known for his eloquence, gave before 1963. One of the major contentions in this work is that God intended humans to be tough-minded but soft-hearted. By this, King meant that people should use reason and sort out truth from fiction. Dictators have long used soft-mindedness among people to gain power, and King believes that soft-mindedness is responsible for racism. King also believes that people should practice love and compassion. He says that Jesus himself encapsulated these opposing forces and had the qualities of both the serpent and dove (2). King sees nonviolence as the exercise of both soft-heartedness and tough-mindedness. King writes that Jesus preached that people should forgive others, and that the church should remind people of the virtues of kindness and forgiveness. The church must also remind people of the value of intelligence to work around man's tendency to be blind to his own faults, including his tendency to wage war.

King also discusses the importance of non-conformity. He sees the early Christian church as composed of non-conformists but thinks the church has become too conformist. It takes nonconformists to pursue justice, he thinks. King also writes about evil, which he believes arises when people waste the potential of life. God gives people the power to pursue justice and fight evil, and the humanity of all people are combined. That is, by helping others, we help ourselves. Though people face the world with fear, King believes that God can give people the force to overcome fear through love. Humans can also overcome evil by using the freedom that God gave them to love others and to pursue justice through nonviolent means.

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