Tag Archives: Who said that

“I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy”

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

Since Monday this quote has gone viral, attributed to Martin Luther King.  The attribution is only half right.  It seems that “I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy” are the words of an 24-year old American English teacher currently working in Japan, by the name of Jessica Dovey, who posted these words on Facebook (or somewhere).

The rest of the quote (“Returning hate for hate …“ etc)  is indeed Martin Luther King; from page 53 of his 1963 collection of sermons entitled Strength to Love, from which Jessica Dovey quoted it, quite correctly enclosing it in quote marks.

In the chapter of MLK’s book entitled “Loving Your Enemies” we find:-

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannon drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. So when Jesus says “Love your enemies,” he is setting forth a profound and ultimately inescapable admonition. Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies– or else? The chain reaction of evil–hate begetting hate, wars producing wars–must be broken, ore we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”

As an additional note, Jessica’s words “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy”  do in fact echo the following words of MLK writing about the drowning of Pharaoh’s soldiers in the Red Sea in the Book of Exodus:

“The meaning of this story is not found in the drowning of Egyptian soldiers, for no one should rejoice at the death or defeat of a human being.”   (Also from Strength to Love).

Source : a Stanford University blog .