August 4, 2022

This Is Why Love Is Powerful

All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another. John 13:35

Mao Zedong, who died in 1976, began his Selected Works by asking two important questions: “Who are our enemies?” and “Who are our friends?”  Mao was concerned not just with political entities that had to be faced, such as the United States and Russia.  He was even more interested in ideologies that represented power.

Strangely enough to some, Chairman Mao and Jesus Christ talked much about the same things.  In fact, they even used terms that are identical; but when they talked, they said almost the very opposite.  For instance, both talked about love.  Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you love one another” (John 13:35).  Again, Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for a friend.”  Although Jesus did not equate Christianity with love, He did teach that love is the very foundation of our relationship with God.  “For God so loved the world,” says John 3:16, “that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Mao Zedong also talked about love, but instead of embracing it, he disdained it.  Says Chairman Mao, “Communism has nothing to do with love.  Communism is an excellent hammer which we use to destroy our enemy.”  One says love is everything; the other, love is nothing.  Both Mao and Christ talked about kingdoms and reigns, using terms that are almost identical but the very opposite in meaning. Mao, of course, considered foreigners as devils who had subverted and taken advantage of his people for centuries.  He wanted to establish a kingdom free from outside interference, where each man could contribute according to his ability and could receive according to his need.  He called it “communism.”  Paul Kauffman, whose life and interests paralleled what happened in China, used to say that China changed communism more than communism changed China.

On the other hand, Jesus talked about a kingdom which is within and knows no political boundaries, one that crosses all superficial boundaries. Christ’s kingdom is within the heart of men, and its enemies are sin, greed, lust, and depravity. Communism very clearly recognized the difference in the ideologies of Christianity and what they teach.

Sergei Kourdakov was a young Russian chosen for his brutality who was going to head a squad of special forces to deal with Christians who had persisted in meeting in secret though it was in violation of the law. One of his teachers said that Lenin taught that it was not religion that we had to fear but beliefs.  That is the great enemy.  It was the believers themselves who were the threat!

Kourdakov led mission after mission, breaking up groups which had secretly met to worship.  But one day, Kourdakov met a girl who withstood the physical abuse they meted out and met their assaults with love–not hatred.  It overwhelmed him!  Kourdakov had to know for himself and turned to Jesus Christ.  Before his untimely death in his mid-twenties, he came to discover that love is a far more powerful weapon than bullets laced with hatred.

The real battle for today is not one for territories upon which we plant a flag; rather it is for the hearts and minds of people. Never forget it!

 

Resource reading: John 3:16-21