MLK: Finding Image of God

“Within the best of us, there is some evil, and within the worst of us, there is some good. The person who hates you most has some good in him; even the nation who hates you most has some good in it; even the race that hates you most has some good in it. And when you come to the point that you look in the face of every person and see deep down within what religion calls ‘the image of God,’ you begin to love in spite of. No matter what the person does, you see God’s image there.” —Martin Luther King, Jr., in “Loving Your Enemies,” sermon at Dexter Ave. Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama, 1957.


I once worked with another physician whom I thought totally incompetent. I thought the decisions she made did not make any sense and were not helpful. She often talked almost in riddles, trying to look at many sides of a question—while I already thought there was an obvious answer that, beyond question, was right. She was amazingly slow to make any changes.

Then one weekend I had to do her job when she was on vacation. Overnight I realized why she behaved as she did, the magnitude of her responsibility, and the constant number of real and imagined problems presented to her. I walked in her shoes, and it made all the difference.

Putting myself in her place did lead me to see God’s image in her as well as in so many others I was having difficulty understanding.