Whenever something bad happens, people like to talk about love winning over hate. Light winning over darkness. It sounds pretty— it’s the image we’ve cradled in our mind from every storybook where the knight slays the dragon.
I’d like to believe that love wins over hate. That light, eventually, triumphs over darkness every time. But I’ve noticed one thing over the years: when we talk about love winning, we don’t like to talk about it having to fight. We don’t like to talk about love suiting up in armor and strapping on a sword. We like to think of love standing on the sidelines, waiting for the evil to pass. We like to think of love as passive. But every love I’ve ever known is a verb. And every love I’ve ever known will go to the mat.
I’d like to believe that love wins. But for love to win, we have to stop putting it in a box. We can’t let atrocities happen or let those we care about walk right over us while we have love trapped in a tower, staring down at a battle of our own making.
Love starts with speaking out. I’ve had friends ask why I’m so honest. “You don’t spare feelings,” they’ve said. And although I want to believe I’m kind, I also know that love has given me truth, and has asked me to speak it.
Love is what drives me to keep my toddler from sticking her fingers into an electric outlet. She isn’t happy with me, but she’s safe. That’s a hard truth about love. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it’s hard to handle.
So where am I going with this? I’ve seen love waved around in the political climate and in personal relationships in ways that make me cringe. I’ve seen love laid flat as a doormat for hate, both small and large, to trample over. I’ve seen people hold onto relationships for a love that isn’t there.
(Here’s a secret: you must love some people from afar.)
And I have a challenge. Next time you think of love, imagine it strapping on armor. Imagine it with a sword. Is that the kind of love you have? The kind that will fight to protect? The kind that will give of itself? Because that’s the only kind of love that will win over hate— both personal and political.
Here are some acts of love for you to try:
1. Set boundaries in your relationships. Love is not a doormat.
2. Give money or donate your time to a cause you support. Love is a verb.
3. Share your truths; use your voice to make a difference in the world. Love will go to the mat.
4. Do something kind for someone. Love smooths the small hurts of life.
5. Raise your children to truly love others.
“These three remain: hope, faith, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13