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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Understanding Power-Absorbing Love

“Power, no matter how well-intentioned, tends to cause suffering. Love, being vulnerable, absorbs it. In a point of convergence on a hill called Calvary, God renounced the one [power] for the sake of the other [love].”
— Philip Yancey
Power is found everywhere, but all too often it is manifest wickedly. It causes suffering as the power is inflicted over others, whether it is intentioned or not. Such power is on display within most interactions, even (especially) within the family dynamic.
I’ve had family dynamics where certain members have gone out of their way to create a power imbalance and I’ve sat and watched the other family member, who is usually weaker, squirm. We either usurp power or we already have it. Either way it’s wrong to exert power over others, yet it will continue to happen because we live in a sinful and broken world.
But there is hope within the opportunity presented where overtures to power are present. God must hate it when someone abuses power to use it for their gain. Yet he has given us the perfect tool to gain victory over the manipulation of power.
The Hope Beyond Power
We all find the misuse of power very discouraging, distracting, and even enraging. It gets us down and we retort in anger, submit in fear, or take up advocacy. The latter option is best, but only when we utilise a hope beyond needing power; a superior hope: love.
This hope beyond power finds its home in love. And such a thing as this love is beyond the carnal. Love cannot sink to depths below its divine self. The integrity of love is pure and unchallengeable.
This hope beyond power, which is love, is ironical; it seems weak in its vulnerability, but it is ever strong in its dignity of integrity. God honours love and loves to break down forces for power.
Such a thing as this love conquers power every time because it plays by a different set of rules. Love’s rules are shrouded in eternity. They’re unbeatable.
Love like this leapfrogs the need to resist power. It responds to the exercise of overbearing power by absorbing the power, and thereby defusing it. As a theory it seems to not make so much sense. But one genuine attempt at simply loving the person who is weak enough to manipulate us by their power may indicate the true power existing in love, beyond our desire to wrest control.
***
Power irritates and causes resistance, whereas love is magnetically enthralling. Only one thing can defeat the misuse of power, relationally: not resistance, but love. Ours is the opportunity: to rise above manipulations of power by the power of love.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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