The world saw him as a marching protest leader, but Martin Luther King, Jr., was first and foremost a preacher. “In the quiet recesses of my heart,” he once remarked, “I am fundamentally a clergyman, a Baptist preacher.” Here's a few quotes from his sermon "Loving Your Enemies," preached Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama on November 17, 1957.
In order to love your enemies, you must begin by analyzing [your]self.
The second thing that an individual must do in seeking to love his enemy is to discover the element of good in his enemy...
Another way that you love your enemy is this: When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it ... The strong person is the person who can cut off the chain of hate, the chain of evil. And that is the tragedy of hate, that it doesn’t cut it off. It only intensifies the existence of hate and evil in the universe.
The final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies” is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals... if they succumb to the temptation of using violence (in our age it would be shame, a particular form of violence--Rob) in their struggle, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and our chief legacy to the future will be an endless reign of meaningless chaos.
We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world. We will be able to make men better. Love is the only way. Jesus discovered that.
All this is why Dr. King says that following Jesus "is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. Yes, it is love that will save our world and our civilization, love even for enemies." Clearly, Dr. King was not a timid man.