The following quote reveals Congressman John Lewis’ reliance on the principles of his religious faith and the philosophy of non-violence that he, Dr. King, and others made real in the Civil Rights Movement. His death is a significant loss to Congress, to the American people, and to humanity as a whole. May John Lewis’ life, courage, and moral leadership be remembered always.
“Non-violent suffering affects not only ourselves but it touches and changes around us as well. It opens us and those around us to a force beyond ourselves, a force that is right and moral, the force of righteous truth that is the basis of human conscience. Suffering puts us and those around us in touch with our consciences. It opens and touches our hearts, makes us feel compassion where we need to and guilt if we must… One method of practicing this approach when faced with a hateful, angry, aggressive even despicable person is to imagine that person, actually visualize him or her as an infant, as a baby. If you can see this full grown attacker who faces you as a pure innocent child that he or she once was, it is not hard to find compassion in your heart. Then it wasn’t just a tactic. It was a way of life. It was embracing the Biblical proscription that one must love one’s enemies. And it’s the hardest thing in the world to carry out.”
-Transcribed from the NY Times Daily Podcast “The Life and Legacy of John Lewis” – July 20, 2020