Love conquers all! A line taken from one of my favorite childhood movies, the 1973 Disney classic, Robin Hood. To set the scene, Robin Hood, vigilante defender of the people of England, has been captured by the greedy and self-absorbed Prince John and has been sentenced to death. In a valiant moment of rescue, thanks to Robin’s merry men, the evil Prince releases Robin Hood to run and embrace Maid Marian. It’s a triumphant pause in the otherwise wild tale. Over the celebration comes this bold declaration: Love conquers all! If you continue watching, you’ll realize the “conquering” is far from over, but it’s a pivotal moment as love itself is presented as the inevitable victor.
If He is for us, why do we allow ourselves or others to tear down our confidence in His love? Our God is love.
Does Love Really Conquer All?
It doesn’t take much growing up to learn we can’t pin all our hopes on fairytale love. But what about God’s love? If His love really does conquer all, then living for the affection and affirmation of God are worthy goals. And so it makes sense that after coming to faith in Jesus, we tend to place ourselves in the active role of pursuing God’s love. We must attain it to enjoy it, we think to ourselves. At last we’ve found the love that leads to fulfillment, so we act transactionally in a desperate attempt to cling to this ever evasive cosmic acceptance.
But what if we changed the question. Instead of asking, How can we gain the love of God? what if we asked, How can we escape the love of God? The Apostle Paul frames it like this: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35). Beginning in verse 31, he mounts a case for the conquering love of God by posing a series of questions, the first being, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Paul expounds on this question in verse 33: “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?”
It’s a straightforward and important question, not simply because of the answer – which Paul reveals later – but because of our assumed response. Who will bring a charge against us? The assumption is that no one can bring a charge against God’s people, and yet, charges seem to abound. They come from family members castigating us, from co-workers competing against us, from spiritual forces attacking us, and most of all, from the critic within each of us.
Silencing the Inner Critic
Self deprecation and self condemnation remain leading proponents of depression and suicide throughout the world. It’s human nature to look in the proverbial mirror and condemn. To continually bring charges against ourselves: We are not good enough. We are not attractive enough. Or smart enough. Or kind enough. Or a good enough parent, spouse, friend, fill in the blank. We beget our own demise as we heap condemnation upon ourselves that has already been accounted for by our Creator.
It is God who has spoken for us and to us. Not in condemnation, but in mercy. Not in a language of exile, but with words of inheritance. His Kingdom is our Kingdom, because He loves us. Our God, who is the only One who could rightly bring a charge against us, has instead brought salvation to us. He claims us as His children. He speaks new life into our souls. He sings over us as He delights in our very existence (Zephaniah 3:17). As Scripture tells us, God demonstrates His love for us in that Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). His heart is for us. If He is for us, why do we allow ourselves or others to tear down our confidence in His love? Our God is love.
When we begin to believe that our inner turmoil cannot separate us from His abundant love, only then do external troubles pale in comparison to His love. Despite whatever trials come into our path, His love remains. His love not only saves us, it empowers us. To take steps. To speak life. To bring hope. To display His grace.
His love, indeed, has conquered, is conquering, and will conquer all.
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