The Means We Employ and the End We Seek

picture of Strength to Love by Martin Luther King Jr.“As you continue your righteous protest…Be sure that the means you employ are as pure as the end you seek. Never succumb to the temptation of being bitter. As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline using love as your chief weapon.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. (in his deeply wise book Strength to Love) goes beyond the idea that “the ends don’t justify the means.” He writes that the means should always be in keeping with the ends.

“The ends don’t justify the means” sets a lower standard than King’s words. Sure, even if we are working towards something that is beautiful and good and true, we shouldn’t use ugliness or deception or manipulation to achieve that end. 

But King pushes for more. 

Instead of saying, “Don’t use manipulative methods to achieve good results,” King is basically saying, “Use good to achieve good. Use peace to achieve peace. Use love to achieve love.”

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