“I know men and I tell you, Jesus Christ is no mere man.  Between him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison.  Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires.  But on what did we rest the creations of our genius?  Upon force.  Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour, millions would die for him.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

One of the more arresting things I encountered in marrying a woman of peace, was the imperative of love she brought into my life.  It was so foundational that it seemed to punctuate every conversation and seemed to be the “nuclear option” whenever an incredulous frustration would justify an inappropriate reaction or judgement by me or one of the kids.  She would simply say…

“love, love, only love”

My cynicism born of an over-exposed and unsheltered youth, didn’t have much patience with pithy statements or contrived sentimentality.  Even as a Christian, I was challenged by the notion that just approaching things with the posture of love might change anything.

Could John Lennon possibly have been right when he wrote, “Love is all you need”?

The scriptures I had claimed talked about it a lot and something deep inside me knew that it was a profound truth, but it is also felt soft and ineffectual.  The kind of thing that poets and pastors could say that didn’t really fit in the “real” world.

But all that changed for me a few years ago.  The guys I lead men’s weekends with were “shadowing” a team from a large national ministry.  These were the preeminent guys who speak to guys.  They have even been accused of assigning too masculine and violent a metaphor to the gospel.  These are guy’s guys.

They were in East Texas, fighting for the hearts of 600 or so men and we were given a ringside seat.  The feeling and conversion was more of a military invasion than any other I could offer.  Strong, intentional, and powerful.  At one point the main leader was addressing all the opposition they were facing in this effort and he said the thing I had only heard a version of from my wife…

“Love, love, only love.  Our only weapon is love.”

Our only weapon is love.  Didn’t see that coming from them.

But love in this context, was powerful and ferocious.  It was the necessary force that needed to be applied.  It was the nuclear option, but in a whole different way.  It didn’t end the conversation, it started it.  It was offered as the ultimate weapon…the one that could cut through steel and any other barrier that stood in its’ way.

This was a “no greater love than this love” kind of love that would lay down its’ life for others.  Turning over tables kind of love.  Calling out injustice kind of love.

The kind of love that says the challenging and difficult things.  Tough love.  Fighting for what is right.

The weapon that even Napoleon could identify as the one thing that trumped even his seemingly unrivaled power.  

The one my wife knew would change everything.  It did.

  • Do you associate strength, nobility, and power with the word “love”?
  • Do you see it as the thing that ultimately trumps all other things?
  • Do you approach those you love and lead with a measure of this most powerful weapon?
  • Could you handle firing and other difficult responsibilities of leadership better if this were part of your experiential toolkit?