We have often heard it said that ‘love conquers all.’ To conquer is to win, to have victory. It implies strength and power. So how do we ‘conquer’ with love? What does that mean to live in the power of love?
It seems to me that some people think that gritting their teeth and managing not to return evil for evil is living in love. I admit, there are times that this is about all you can do, just survive. But if that is your existence day in and day out, then your love is not conquering anything. And eventually it may not even survive at all. So how do we turn survival into victory? How do we go from making it through another day to living in the power of love?
As with anything, it begins with believing. Believing that love and the actions of love are more powerful than hate, anger, bitterness and resentment. It is not a fairytale. Selfless, giving love is more powerful than evil.
But belief without action is not truly belief. We need to ‘live’ in the power of love not just believe in the power of love. How do we do that? Christ told us how. When your enemy is hungry, feed him. When your enemy is thirsty, give him something to drink. Do not simply survive the enemy’s attacks but turn around and ‘bless those that curse you’.
What does that look like in practical everyday life? What does it mean to bless those who curse you? To bless is to desire good for them, to seek what is beneficial for them. Notice that I didn’t say to seek what ‘they want’. I said to seek what is beneficial for them. Sometimes what a person wants is not a good thing and providing it for them will do them harm. In that case, the loving thing to do is to say no. Sometimes the loving thing is to go the extra mile. Instead of doing what they have demanded, do that and even more.
Whether or not you are doing something out of a true heart of love for them or other motives, only you and God truly know. Always check your motives. Are you doing it to bless them or to pat yourself on the back? Are you doing it to bless them and show them love or are you doing it in hopes of making things a little easier on yourself?
Living in the power of love is not the quick, easy road to victory. Often it is the slow, hard road to victory, but to victory it can lead. Living in the power of love is not about simply ‘taking it on the chin.’ It is about taking it on the chin and then reaching over and bandaging the hand that struck you, not because you have to, but because you have compassion on their bleeding knuckles.