Getting it wrong: “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?” — Russian ruler Joseph Stalin
Getting it right: Love conquers all.
Joseph Stalin was one of the most ruthless leaders of the 20th century. Historians believe he was responsible for the deaths of about 20 million people.
In May of 1935, French Foreign Minister Pierre Laval allegedly asked Joseph Stalin to improve the situation for Catholics in Russia. Others say it was Winston Churchill who in 1944 told Stalin how important England believed it was to free the Catholic country of Poland from Nazi Germany’s oppression. Stalin’s brutal response to both was, “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?”
When we think of power we think in military terms: bombs, guns, F-16 fighter jets, terrorists. Things that look like power, sound like power, and seem like power do not last.
The most mighty and lasting power on earth is the suffering love of God and his son, Jesus, for humanity. When John saw Jesus he wrote, “His eyes were like flames of fire…his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves…and his face was like the sun in all its brilliance…When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead.” (Revelation 1)
Why would such power sacrifice itself on a cross in suffering love? Real power does not destroy, but forgives and heals. The powers that crucified Jesus did not last, but the suffering love of Jesus has changed the world. Love is the only real lasting power on earth.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13