Toughmindedness

By Martin Luther King Jr.
(Excerpt from Strength to Love)

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Matthew 10:16 ESV
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and (gentle)innocent as doves.”

Toughmindedness without tenderheartedness is cold and detached, leaving one’s life in a perpetual winter devoid of the warmth of spring and the gentle heat of summer. What is more tragic then to see a person who has risen to the disciplined heights of tough mindedness but has at the same time sunk to the passionless depths of hardheartedness? The hardhearted person never truly loves. He engages in the cold crass utilitarianism which values other people mainly according to the usefulness to him. He never experiences the beauty of friendship, because he is too cold to feel affection for another and is too self centered to share another’s joy and sorrow. He is an isolated island. No outpouring of love links him with the mainland of humanity. The hardhearted person lacks the capacity for genuine compassion. He is unmoved by the pains and the afflictions of his brothers. He passes unfortunate man every day, but he never really sees them. He gives dollars to a worthwhile charity, but he gives not of his spirit. The hardhearted individual never sees people as people, but rather as mere objects or as impersonal cogs in and ever turning wheel. In the vast wheel of industry, he sees man as hands. In the massive wheel of big city life, he sees man as digits in a multitude. In the deadly wheel of army life, he sees man as numbers in a regiment. He depersonalizes life. The Lord Jesus Christ reminds us that the good life combines the toughness of the mind and the tenderness of the heart. To have tough minded qualities devoid of tender hearted qualities is to be passionless, mean, and selfish. To have tenderness of heart without toughminded qualities is to be sentimental, anemic, and aimless. We must combine the toughness of the mind and the tenderness of the heart.

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