1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
There are, of course, many expressions of love. In the context of this post, however, I am addressing the phenomenon as love as a weapon in spiritual warfare.
I have been tinkering with a definition of spiritual warfare for a while now, and so, for today, my definition is this:
Spiritual warfare is the means and methods we use to convert evil into good.
Weapons of spiritual warfare are, in short, those behaviors we employ in the face of evil.
All expressions of love share certain characteristics. One is our tendency to hold ourselves back from expressing and experiencing love, our fears. Another is that love is a form of belonging, and in that love we find a home.
There is some uniqueness when we utilize love as a spiritual weapon, however. In this expression, love is our act of standing firm in our faith in the face of potentially destructive opposition. It is the supreme act of being nonjudgmental, even when we know what we are facing.
While romantic love is all about attachment and is, in fact, love for attachment sake, spiritual love in the context of warfare, is all about detachment. This is a subject that I will write about soon.
No matter what the form of love — romantic love, love for God, love for one another — to release our fears of getting closer and allowing ourselves to be exposed to another we need to learn to surrender in prayer, to release our needs for security against criticism, rejection, indifference. This is why prayer needs to be a commitment, something we study, practice, and get help with. When we exercise the heart through prayer, we can know our connectedness with God.
When we experience romantic love, we find our home in our beloved. In expressing our love for God, we may feel at home in a church, or in a meadow, or on a walk. It is where we find our ability to talk with God, and feel his love for us. With our friends and family, we find our celebration of belonging where ever we happen to be with them.
But where do we find our sense of belonging in our love for our enemy? When we stand face to face with someone or something that wants to hurt us?
We find our home in Jesus.
To learn the art and method of using love as a weapon in spiritual warfare, we must study and study and study the passion of our blessed lord. We must understand that what looks like humiliation and degradation is, in fact, perfect surrender, perfect strength, perfect love.
And as Saint John writes, perfect love casts our fear.
In our difficult and dark hours, we must create a circle with our enemy and with Jesus, so that in holding in our hearts love for God in all expressions on Earth, we come to know not only the strength that God can fill us with, but also our own strength, our own acknowledgement that the only way to begin to convert evil into good is through love.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.