Visiting the Center for Civil and Human Rights has impacted and renewed my resolve to love more, fear less and refuse to settle for mediocrity. I am inspired and humbled by the commitment of those who when freed from oppression continued to campaign for the marginalised, downtrodden and broken. Our freedom is contingent on the freedom of those around us. We have a responsibility to build on the sacrifice of those who have gone before. Truly, love is the final fight.
– Aleem Ali (19th April 2016)
There are small political movements, ebbing and flowing, across our nation and globe, trying to reclaim something they feel they have lost.
Whether it is Reclaim Australia, Rise Up Australia, Australian Liberty Alliance or the Trump Train there is a sense amongst a small, but vocal group of people that something is slipping away or needs to be revived. That ‘thing’ is often couched in terms of ‘Judeo-Christian values’. Precisely what those values might be no-one seems particularly sure.
The term was coined, in its current context, by English writer George Orwell concerning a “scheme of morals”. The means by which this blurry set of values and morals are to be retained, regained and returned seems to be open slather. By whatever means necessary may not be the articulated strategy of these parties, but it is clearly the reality. Bullying, slander, violence, or threats of violence, are increasingly modus operandi for those claiming to be fighting for freedom and liberty (on both extremes of the political spectrum). There is a misalignment between the ‘Christian values’ they purport to represent and the Christ they should be following.
Jesus did not seek to preserve tradition or the existing cultural norms of the society into which he was born. Jesus sought to bring good news to the poor, help the blind see and set the oppressed and captives free (Luke 4:18). Jesus demonstrated that not only is another way possible but the power and purpose of living another way is here and available to all. That power, purpose, and way is love.
What we see and experience in Jesus is the embodiment of God. A God who feels our pain, and who wants so much better and more for us than we want for ourselves. Christianity is not about preserving our way of life; it’s about turning our way of life upside down through radical death-defeating love.
Violence cannot defeat violence. Hate cannot defeat hate. Fear cannot defeat fear. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were for the purpose of setting us free from violence, hate and fear and leading us into a relationship of love.
What is increasingly paraded as righteousness and truth is more often thinly veiled self-righteousness and arrogance.
Love wins when we refuse to fight on the same terms as our enemy. Whatever the cost.
Love wins when we love the oppressed and the oppressor.
Love wins when we clothe ourselves “with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience… and love.” (Col. 3:12-14)
Love wins when we allow the revelation of Jesus’ love to permeate every aspect our lives, and we cannot help but be transformed.
Love wins when our only fight is for, with, through, in, and because of love.
For, truly, love is the final fight.