Love as Power

… there is only one thing that has power completely, and that is love. Because when a man loves, he seeks no power, and therefore he has power.

Cry, the Beloved Country p. 71

This is true; though, it’s not immediately clear why. Why, if I am not seeking power, not exercising power, not gaining power through my own will, but simply loving, do I have power?

Power is strength, authority, influence, dominance; it is the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or course of events. In one sense it is the opposite of others having power over you. And, of course, love—at least the love of a Christian—exists because there is no need to gain from someone else: either money or time or resources or approval. The one who loves has the power because the other can ultimately have no great effect. Even the ability to take a life is ultimately no power against the one who possesses life eternal.

So the one who loves can influence without false motives. The one who loves displays great strength in giving of self when that seems foolish. And the one who loves ultimately influences because love and its ultimate effect on the giver of that love is such a stark and inviting contrast to the might-makes-right way of the world. 

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