I think I often subconsciously imagine love being a little weaker than hate. That sounds bad, but let me explain. I know that love is better, and I know that God wants us to love because that is His nature. I’ve heard that since I was a little kid. But sometimes hate seems so big and bad that it just doesn’t seem like love could ever win against that angry, snarling beast.
I was struck very deeply by something Jon Foreman said between songs at a concert. He dedicated the song “The Sound (John M. Perkins Blues) to the idea that, as it says in the song, “There is no song louder than love.” Then he said something like, “Love is louder than hate.” Such a poignant statement. So simple. Yet so true.
I had to think, Do I really believe that love speaks more loudly, sings more loudly than hate? Do I live in a way that reflects that fact that I believe that statement? Do the people around me think that I believe that?
Most of us, it seems, don’t think of love as making much of a statement. I often subconsciously think it’s the shy kid in the corner that only speaks when spoken to. He sits there, twiddling his thumbs and playing games on his iPod, waiting for someone to think he is useful. Maybe I think about love that way because, too often, that’s the way I live. I think of it as a handy tool to store in my cabinet, and when I need it, I can dust it off and use it–instead of making it a way of life, like Jesus would like it to be.
Love isn’t that way. It might speak gently, but it still speaks much, much louder than hate. Think about it. It is nothing unusual for people to hate because of the things others do to them. Now, think of how love shouts at the people around, when someone deals love in return for hate. It makes no earthly sense to do that. But Jesus calls us to that standard.
It begs questions, for those that observe this phenomenon, “Where does this come from? How is this possible?” It’s not humanly possible, but with Jesus help, we can live what He asks of us when He tells us to love our enemies.
The song, “The Sound” is dedicated to John M. Perkins, who, born into an African-American family of share-croppers, experienced first hand, the abuse of the pre-civil rights era. His response: he began a foundation based on the idea that love is for the oppressed, and the oppressor. Talk about insanity by earthly standards.
But it’s a fact. Jesus’ ways don’t make sense to those who don’t know Him. It’s a baffling thing. The cool thing about love, is that even if people kill us, and we loved instead of hating them, we get to go to Heaven. If they come to Christ because of the love we showed, we might even get to see them there someday. Think about after being in Heaven for several years: suppose the guy that you loved, when he was about to murder you shows up, and you give him a big hug. If that’s not a win-win, I don’t know what is.
Love paves the way for the Gospel. It doesn’t baffle people when we try to stuff the truth down their throats. It just makes them mad. Either that or they assume we are ignorant and obnoxious, and don’t care about people.
Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthians, telling them clearly, that if we do all kinds of amazing and good things, but leave love out of the equation, we sound, essentially, like a kid beating on pots and pans. That’s kind of cute for about ten seconds, but it grates on most of us pretty quickly.
Ironically, that particular scenario might actually be a test of your love for the aforementioned child. But that sound is still annoying, unless you have a real love for gongs. The Bible also says that if we love, we fulfill the whole law. If we truly love, we are right with God and we won’t mistreat people.
Do those around you (your friends, your enemies, and those random everyday acquaintances) know when they encounter you, that you believe in the idea that “Love is louder than hate?” Have they come to expect the love of Christ from you? Or is it a constant guessing game for them to gauge whether or not this is one of those days that you left your love at home in your closet or on a corner shelf in your garage?
Let’s hope that that’s not the case. Join me as I make a renewed effort, to join in the loudest song that ever has, or ever will be sung. The cool thing is, if we are singing it when we die, we will keep singing it. Forever.
Listen. It rises above all the hatred, all the greed, all mistreatment and wrongdoing that there ever was since the beginning of time.
“Let it rise above,
There is no song
Louder than love.
This is the sound. . .”