In this handwritten outline, the earliest known version of this oft-given sermon, King invokes Jesus' call for people to love their enemies as a solution to the problems facing modern society.1 He contends that Jesus's teaching was not “the pious injunction of a utopian dreamer.” King continues, “This command is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. Love is the key to the solution of the world’s problem, yes even love for enemies.”
In the midst of this Jesus comes out with a new and revolutionary idea. He says in substance love not only your neighbors and friends, but love even your enemies
Yet far from being the impractical idealist, Jesus has become the practical realist and the words of our text glitter in our eyes with a new pertinance. Instead of being the pious injunction of a utopian dreamer, this command is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. Love is the key to the solution of the world's problem, yes even love for enemies.
Quote Jesus: “How can you see the
beam mote. etc.4
This would not follow with all out war between nations. This deals with enimity between individuals
1. “‘Loving Your Enemies’ Rev. King, Jr.'s Subject,” Atlanta Daily World, 30 August 1952. For a later example of this sermon that follows this early outline, see King, “Loving Your Enemies,” Sermon Delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, 17 November 1957, in The Papers of Martin Luther King, vol. 4: Symbol of the Movement, January 1957-December 1958, ed. Clayborne Carson, Susan Carson, Adrienne Clay, Virginia Shadron, Kieran Taylor (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2000), pp. 315-324; see also King, Loving Your Enemies, Sermon Delivered at Detroit Council of Churches' Noon Lenten Services, 7 March 1961, pp. 421-429 in this volume, and King, Strength to Love, pp. 34-41.
2. Matthew 5:43-44.
3. This idea can be found throughout the Pentateuch; for an example, see Exodus 21:24.
4. Cf. Matthew 7:3-5.
CSKC-INP, Sermon file, folder 1, “Loving Your Enemies.”