The Power of Love

That great philosopher, Huey Lewis in his 1985 hit song, The Power of Love, sang:

“The power of love is a curious thing, Make a one man weep, make another man sing. Change a hawk to a little white dove, More than a feeling, that’s the power of love.”

The phrase “change a hawk to a little white dove” is the one that affects me most. Many in leadership today try (unsuccessfully) to lead from a position of domination. Their actions demonstrate that they think by pushing someone down, they will be lifted up. Or if they silence someone, they will be heard. Or if they can steal someone’s power, they will have more. It gives nothing…only takes, and eventually as history has demonstrated again and again, those people end up all alone. Those who placed their trust in them end up with broken hearts and dreams. Unfortunately, this is a sad, destructive and failed belief.

If history has taught us anything it’s that when we (humankind) are left to ourselves, we can be brutal to each other. Examples are plentiful…the original settlers, slave owners, Jim Crow laws, Nazi Germany, Redlining in urban areas, the current Israeli-Palestinian bombings. The list is long and difficult to stomach when I think of the brutal lengths some will go to gain the illusion of power or control.

I wrote in a previous blog that my friend, Herb, said, “The opposite of love is not hate…it is lazy.” And if love is what changes a person’s heart…even a hawk, and if the heart is changed…well, then everything can be changed. That means love has to be active. The real possibility for positive change lies not in domination, but in the power of love.

Author Ronald Rolheiser said it this way (when writing about Holocaust survivors), “…looking at life from the vantage point of love, we see that our being and our joy increase to an extent that we give it away. We see that the real significance of our lives grows the more we are willing to move beyond seeing others as threats and instead choose to delight in their energy…and give away some of our own life to help resource their lives.”

In the face of the myriad challenges facing us, personally and societally, today, it’s easy to get angry, to push back, to shut down, to give up or be depressed. But today, let’s choose love, even for those who don’t want or deserve it. Even for those who are on the opposite end of the political, social or religious end of the spectrum.

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. – Luke 6:27-28


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Many of these blog entries are edited excerpts from Tender Lions: Building the Vital Relationship Between Father and Son

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