Part 12 of Jesus and the Disinherited. In this he defines love as the "maintenance and furtherance of life at its highest level". He begins with a quote from Olive Schreiner. Love is not an ethic in the sense of being a "yard stick" for measuring oneself, but the inner intent of God in creation. He uses the life of Jesus as a model for love, especially for those with their "backs against the wall."
Thurman insists that love resists cooperating with anyone who is working against this maintenance and furtherance of life. He argues that nonviolence may actually be worse than violence, as people can adjust to physical violence, but resistance "shocks" a person by invading their inner life and cutting them off from support. Nonviolence is a technique for bringing about social change, but unless nonviolence becomes the inner self of a person then someone working for peace may be extremely violent in their interpersonal relationships. He argues that fear feeds those who work against life at its highest level, and gives an example of his and his sister's reaction to their mother's corporal punishment.
Finally, he argues that love, and specifically the love of an enemy, is not an ethical act but a spiritual act, for God must come into our inner selves to bring about within us a desire to want to do this.
|Item: Jesus and the Disinherited, Part 11, May 3, 1959
|is continued in