“Alexander, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him.” — Napoleon Bonaparte

Zephaniah 3:17-20
Isaiah 49:14-16
1 John 3:1-3

Jesus says God wants to save the world. He then teaches his followers to love one another. That’s his master plan: love.

Jesus says the world will know that God sent Jesus if his followers have “complete unity” (John 17:23).

All this borders on unbelievable, so we skip over it.  Whether we hope to save souls or feed the hungry, we trust our methods.  Napoleon had his force, and we have ours: training seminars, convincing arguments, marketing campaigns, stylish bracelets, catchy slogans, pet dogmas. Sometimes we pull out the big weapons of political weight, petitions and demonstrations.

We believe action and activism will change hearts, and usher in utopia.

The most revolutionary leaders in the world taught the most subversive and simple of all acts: love. Jesus, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. chose their central premise well.  In the face of violen ce: love. In the face of persecution: love.  In the face of discrimination, oppression and subjugation: love.  Fight fire with water.

Their drop in time’s pond still sends ripples out into lives everywhere.

The great dreamers of revolution have all come up short.  Marx.  Che Guevara.  Hitler.  Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations.  Activists everywhere, on college campuses and on Capitol Hill.

They possess all conviction and passion, yet they lack the one great weapon of mass instruction: love.

The movie “Pay It Forward” brilliantly painted this picture.  If we begin loving people and teaching them to do the same, a movement of magnitude can lend light to the world’s dark night. It can touch people everywhere, especially me.

We need not do away with our methods of touching lives, feeding the hungry, ending war, fighting disease and poverty.  But we cannot hope for any real success in these arenas without love.

If we want to save the world, could we imagine any act more powerful than loving a merciful God, neighbors in need, or enemies who revile us?

If we want to reach the world, can we fathom any more convincing evidence of deity than laying down our lives for others?

How would you change the world?
What, exactly, is love?
Why is it so revolutionary? 


© 2006