Lesson 9: Hope for Love

I have a dreamThe third major biblical vision of the future is the promise of love. Let’s use Martin Luther King’s teachings to examine it. He specifically relates hope to the modern situation in the USA.

In his “I Have a Dream” speech, the vision is the Beloved Community. He begins by describing it as “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.”

His “Loving Your Enemies” sermon expresses how that vision inspires transformation of the present situation. “ Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. We never get rid of an enemy by meeting hate with hate; we get rid of an enemy by getting rid of enmity. By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; by its very nature, love creates and builds up. Love transforms with redemptive power.”

Dr. King sees love, God’s love for us, and our love for each other as a nonviolent, redemptive agent of change. This follows John and Paul’s teaching that God loves us even when we are enemies so we can overcome evil with good by loving our enemies.

Our question is whether we can have such hope considering the present circumstances. Dr. King believes we can if we have faith that history bends towards justice. He assumes God works with us and thinks the way forward demands rigid discipline and being willing to suffer for the sake of righteousness. Most people forget that Dr. King insisted that those who engaged in his marches first engage in a demanding preparation.

Perhaps we find the greatest cause for hope in this love promise that is reinforced by faith that “God is love .” God is trustworthy by definition. It also offers the greatest inspiration. “Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.” (I John 4: 7-14)

As we have seen with peace and justice, so too the promise of a loving community offers courage but also challenge.

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  1. paul wildman says:

    Thanks Fritz when you say ‘God is Love’ fair enough, however there were many types of words for love and many different types of love in the OT times esp. in Greek (5 different types of love each with its own word) [and there is today to a point]

    So what actual word is used for ‘love’ in this OT text/verse please?

    thanks ciao Paul (Aust)
    ps this is something i have wondered about for decades


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