Written by Andrea Nwabuike
News had just broken that another black man had been killed in an incident with the police. Every news station was quick to line up pundits to argue about who was at fault. Social media was polarized, both sides rife with anger and frustration. I was scrolling through Instagram, struck by the many images declaring that “love wins.” Usually I quickly like these posts, trying to convince myself the world isn’t as scary or dark as it seems.
But on this occasion, as my finger hovered over the like button, I couldn’t help but think, No, it doesn’t. Love doesn’t win.
If love wins why has animosity and division become part of the fabric of our culture? If love wins, why do we find it fitting to argue about who deserves to live and who deserves to die? If love wins why we do walk away from the table when race, religion, or politics enters our discourse?
The love the world clings to is fickle and self-serving. It is the type of love that embraces the like-minded and rejects the “other.” The love of the world seeks its own comfort, refusing to walk in the difficult spaces of life. It is a love that announces itself in the aftermath of tragedy but refuses to be moved in to action to bear the pain of the victim. It is a love that lives in words and dies in deeds, that looks pretty on social media but has little power in society.
The love the world embraces runs from offence and hides from controversy. It demonizes others to protect its fragile sense of righteousness. This love doesn’t overcome hatred or darkness. This love can’t and won’t win.
But there is a love that has the power to overcome all that brings us pain and divides us. This love, the love of God, is selfless and merciful. This love embraces the enemy and initiates reconciliation. This love is willing to suffer with the broken, to bear the burdens that are not its own.
The love that is at the core of God’s nature drove Him to sacrifice His Son on a cross, so that rebellious men and women could be called beloved sons and daughters of the Most High.
Why would I trade the love of God for the love of this world? How can I know the power of the cross but be content to love from the comfort of my couch – artificially and conveniently?
If we really want the world to change, we need to adopt the radical love of Christ. That means extending compassion and forgiveness to my enemy. That means listening to thoughts and feelings that offend me. The love of God compels me to serve others, even when it is difficult or inconvenient. This love wins even when all else fails.