Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

I Have Decided to Stick With Love

--by Martin Luther King Jr. (Jan 04, 2016)

I’m concerned about a better World. I’m concerned about justice; I’m concerned about brotherhood and sisterhood; I’m concerned about truth. And when one is concerned about that, he can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can’t murder murder. Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can’t establish truth. Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can’t murder hate through violence. Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.

And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only answer to humankind’s problems. And I’m going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it isn’t popular to talk about it in some circles today. And I’m not talking about emotional bosh when I talk about love; I’m talking about a strong, demanding love. For I have seen too much hate. [...] and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love. If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find it through love. And the beautiful thing is that we aren’t moving wrong when we do it, because John was right, God is love. He who hates does not know God, but he who loves has the key that unlocks the door to the meaning of ultimate reality.

And so I say to you today, my friends, that you may be able to speak with the tongues of men and angels; you may have the eloquence of articulate speech; but if you have not love, it means nothing. Yes, you may have the gift of prophecy; you may have the gift of scientific prediction and understand the behavior of molecules; you may break into the storehouse of nature and bring forth many new insights; yes, you may ascend to the heights of academic achievement so that you have all knowledge; and you may boast of your great institutions of learning and the boundless extent of your degrees; but if you have not love, all of these mean absolutely nothing. You may even give your goods to feed the poor; you may bestow great gifts to charity; and you may tower high in philanthropy; but if you have not love, your charity means nothing. You may even give your body to be burned and die the death of a martyr, and your spilt blood may be a symbol of honor for generations yet unborn, and thousands may praise you as one of history’s greatest heroes; but if you have not love, your blood was spilt in vain. What I’m trying to get you to see this morning is that a man may be self-centered in his self-denial and self-righteous in his self-sacrifice. His generosity may feed his ego, and his piety may feed his pride. So without love, benevolence becomes egotism, and martyrdom becomes spiritual pride.

Excerpted from Martin Luther King Jr's ‚Äčspeech, "Where do we go from here?"

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On Jan 1, 2016 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 Love is the master key that opens the door for healing,  harmonizing, nourishing, connecting, caring, enriching and uplifting. Love indeed i invokes the God Light, the God Truth and the God Peace in all of us. All traditions of wisdom, all highly evolved spiritual teachers all over the world have taught us the healing power of love by their examples. All of us have been blessed to have parents, siblings,friends, neighbors, teachers, farmers, workers, innovators, care takers and even strangers who have given us taste of unconditional love occasionally or on a consistent level. They  are living examples of the kind of love Martin Luther King Jr is talking about so eloquently. Simple acts of kindness touch our hearts with love.Our thoughts, words and actions that harm us and harm others, deprive us and others from benevolence, hurt us and hurt others perpetuate the cycle of hatred and suffering. No violent actions are justified by quoting the name of God or by righteousness. History is full of wars fought in the name of God and by believing and stating God is on our side. And seeds of peace and good will are also planted and blossomed by people who relate to others like their sole brothers and sisters.

I myself and many others whom I know well have been blessed by having people who have showered their love on us on a regular basis. When I offer my service to others selflessly, I smell the fragrance of love, the taste of kindness, the sweetness of compassion and the touch of divinity. Usually, such acts happen. I do not plan them  in advance.Being human, I run into helping hands when I need help. And people run into my helping hands when they need help.It is an everyday happening. My cup of life is filled when I reach out and help others and also when people reach out hold my feeble hands.

May we cultivate loving kindness in our hearts and create connectedness within ourselves and others by offering and receiving gifts of love!


Jagdish P Dave

On Jan 3, 2016 david doane wrote:

My understanding is that what Martin Luther King means by strong demanding love is love that is compassionate and genuine.  This kind of love is an expression of one's truth and integrity.  This kind of love is based on seeing myself and the other as one, no one better or worse, higher or lower than than other.  With this love the other is seen and respected as equal.  This kind of love puts the golden rule into action and I treat others as I want to be treated.  This kind of love is not a superficial and transient infatuation or passing fancy, but a life commitment and posture.  It is strong and demanding.  Emotion may be involved in this kind of love, but it is deeper than just emotion, deeper than thinking, deeper than physical -- it comes from the soul.  An experience of such love has been when I have spoken or acted with pure and total integrity independent of what others think or say.  Honestly evaluating my motives in what I say and do helps me check whether my action is filled with such love.  If I have an agenda or intention that I am trying to accomplish, it's time for me to be suspicious of what I am up to as the pureness of my love is likely diminished.  

On Jan 4, 2016 Jay Shah wrote:

 True meaning of love is described here.  Many other positive attributes are great if come from love but if do not come from love - likely to come from ego or other motives and so are nothing compared to love itself.  Living as a source of love (being internally as love) and then doing all external tasks through this love seems to be a message from this.  Great explanation of love!! 

On Jan 5, 2016 Sue Tennant wrote:

This is a very inspiring testimony to the possibility of a person aligning with Divine Love. So uplifting and life-affirming. Thank you so much!

It takes time and much experience to develop the mind capacity to conceptualize this kind of Love.  It takes a passion for the pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness.  It also takes commitment to serve humanity, especially the most vulnerable.   And since the most difficult human decision is to forgive others, it is the most important.  More than anything, it builds and maintains relationships, the social core of the brotherhood and sisterhood of the human family. 

It's in partnership with God when the soul grows best, and that's when all things become possible.  Even the one day possibility of a worldwide recognition that God is Love and Father of us all.

On Jan 5, 2016 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 Strong demanding love is loving everyone no exception. It is loving those who are challenging to love. It is loving those who hate, those who fear. It is loving ourselves as well; even the bits that we may feel are unloveable. I have felt this type of love several times and it brings my heart to almost bursting. I have felt it when sharing Free Hugs with homeless or with strangers on street corners. I have felt it when in a hospital in Kenya sitting with a dying child, my hand gently on her back rubbing small circles as I whispered a quiet story to her and tried to take some of her pain away. I have felt this love when speaking to my brother and mother with whom I have a challenging relationship due to their own fears and negativity; sometimes I can see beyond that into their hearts and see the wounds they are carrying. A practical test for me is reminding myself that we are all Tall Children and would I say or think what I'm carrying to a small child? It helps me to see the human being in front of me. Here's to love, may it always win.

On Jan 5, 2016 Catherine Todd wrote:

 My question is this: How does JUSTICE fit into all this? How do you "love" someone and still bring them to justice? I'm not advocating the death penalty, but how does a judge who assigns punishment (i.e. jail time) "love" the criminal? How do we "love" someone and still report their crime? We must have "rule of law" or we live in dangerous chaos. How to love at the same time?

On Jan 5, 2016 paashi wrote:

I want to excavate the essence of LOVE in myself and find words expressing it ,beautifully warm and heart expanding and yet-- this elusive, shy role of my soul feels  just a touch away when pursued consciously.  And yet it is always there-- quite an enigma
The mundane act of just being in the many roles of human journey brings in the fragrance of love.  
In my sixth decade, it is the recognition that love is the quiet presence of self which is yearning to overcome the illusion of separateness.  IIn 2016 --- to my evolving with others in the game called LIFE or as this posting says-- LOVE!

On Jan 5, 2016 Zillah wrote:

 For me, strong demanding love that is not emotional bosh is: accountable love, giving and receiving love, love that will bear change and disruption and last as love.  Love that doesn't need from the 'other' or the 'you' in order to continue. Love that must be met. Love that fulfills itself in all things, not by preference or by prejudice.  Love that must be, through it's own isness.  Love that makes us our brother's keeper because we are our brothers, sisters, son, daughters, mothers, fathers, and friends, the kind of love that includes all faiths and all lack of faiths without discriminating between or comparing them, the kind of love that is exhausting and replenishing and most of all must give of itself to serve the whole of Loving. 

On Jan 5, 2016 AJ wrote:


On Jan 6, 2016 Sunil,Bangalore wrote:

 The innate,intuitive and instinctive feeling of oneness with all living beings is demanding love.Its simply the manifestation of the existing nature of our very life force.The original quality of soul.Rarely when I happen to be one with my own self,I experience this love. As Kabir said " Hum sab mai,sab Hai Hum mai" is the test.No anger-hate-violence-ego.Every arising thought is Maitri Bhava.

On Jan 6, 2016 RR wrote:
When I offer my service to others selflessly, I smell the fragrance of love, the taste of kindness, the sweetness of compassion and the touch of divinity

the sentence above in your comment touched my heart. Thank you.

On Feb 21, 2016 Yvonne wrote:

 Every word you typed had to come from the stillness within you.I thank my God for your comment. It is so enriching.

On Feb 29, 2016 Noriko wrote:

 Wow!  He said this...sorry for my ignorance.  As I think of it, "I have a dream" speech is the only direct words from him that I have read.  I thought I knew MLK Jr., read about him and watched documentary films.  I was wrong.  Thank you so much for this post.

On Apr 12, 2016 luv4all wrote:

 Kristin, thank you for sharing about your thoughts on love - beautiful and inspiring. I can relate to what you are saying. May you be blessed.

On Feb 10, 2017 tereza wrote: