Friday, October 19 2018 - 8:39 AM
Photo by Jennifer Pallian with Unsplash

Love Wins

The Apostle Paul was pretty radical and smart. He points out again and again that love is the best means to any end. He actually is quoted saying that the only way we can overpower evil is to do good. This word good—agathos—actually unpacks itself to mean tangible acts of favor. It was a descendant of the ultimate word for love, agape, and was all about literal, audible, seeable expressions of love. It was dropping off a pie, washing a car or sending nice cards.

And what a brilliant idea! Your boss treats you like dirt and tries to get you fired and you send her tickets to the game and her favorite cookies. You do it for real and mean it. You get her coupons for a car wash and you go out of your way to show kindness. You are relentless. Who could stand up to that? The tyrant in all of us would eventually crumble. I figure that people either die on the hill for love, think Jesus, or for themselves, think Judas. Usually, given enough time, mean people crumble down and start returning the favor, when loved. Remember the Titans? Whatever the response, love is going to win out because love is stronger than death itself.

I think one of the reasons we don’t see so much of love winning the day is because most of us are not fully committed yet. We waffle on whether love is truly our best bet. Think about the last time you were given a dose of hate. It was civil, but you knew what it was. So did you meet it with gifts and gentle respect? No? It seems to me that if we stayed the course and trusted love to be the way out, we’d see more beautiful endings and have more beautiful stories.

Back in the seventies Jim Elliot, Nate Saint and a few others flew down south in a little plane and dropped gifts out their windows to a tribe of people who didn’t know Jesus. Their plan was pretty simple. They’d show that they were friends with all these gifts and then land their plane and share the great news about love and Heaven and everything else. I don’t remember exactly how long they flew over before they finally landed. It was probably several months.

Well when they touched down all excited to meet their new friends, their new friends rushed out of the greenery and took them down. I can’t even imagine it. There they were arrowed down with their wives and kids listening in on the radio back home. It was printed up as this huge tragedy. They were all very young and very good citizens. It was also just the beginning.

This story is beautiful because Nate Saint, the pilot, had a sister who decided that all these people needed was a little more loving. Defying instinct she found her way down to this very tribe that had murdered her brother and moved in. And who could stop her? And what would you say to the lady who was insistent on being your friendly neighbor after you killed her little brother? It was over. Those tribal people were busted. They couldn’t argue with that kind of love and they caved.

What’s even better is how they all carry on, even to this day. My sister went to hear Nate Saint’s son tell the story. She said that he brought this tribal chief up on stage next to him. She said they hugged and then the chief said that he had been there when the plane had landed and he was actually the one who had given the order for Nate to be murdered. Yes, and then with this big grin on his face he called Nate’s son his son, and Nate’s grandchildren his grandchildren. They were family thanks to Jesus. You could have heard a pin drop.

And what if we hung on like they did? And what if we kept passing out the love no matter what?  I think Jesus would have more of a chance at saving us all, and I think we would all be better for it.

I think that this could be revolutionary. I think that if every person who claimed Jesus to be their Savior made it to loving like this or beyond we would all have to take a few weeks off work each year just to celebrate. What would actually happen is we’d experience something very close to Heaven on earth and we’d feel things we’ve never ever felt before.

Think about it. Every time you have been shown love when you were on the hate of the chart, it inspired and even stretched you towards loving back. And the more profound their love to your hate the more dramatic you changed. Love works in all directions. The more I bestow good on you, the stronger I become. And if it’s crazy hard because you killed my parents or something gruesome like that, the more I will be changed for loving.

This is our power. Love wins.

Clarissa Worley Sproul writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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About Clarissa Worley Sproul

Clarissa Worley Sproul

writes from the Pacific Northwest.

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