One of my longtime favorite books is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. It is the story of a brother and sister who go on a journey through space to the planet Camazotz, where Charles’ Wallace, Meg’s little brother, gets trapped inside the brainwashing powers of IT. When Meg goes back to rescue him, she is armed only with the prophecy that she has something IT does not, and it will be her only weapon. That final confrontation has stayed with me for years:
“Nonsense,” Charles Wallace said. “You have nothing that it doesn’t have.”
“You’re lying,” she replied, and she felt only anger toward this boy who was not Charles Wallace at all. No, it was not anger, it was loathing; it was hatred, sheer and unadulterated, and as she became lost in hatred she also began to be lost in IT…
With the last vestige of consciousness she jerked her mind and body. Hate was nothing that IT didn’t have. IT knew all about hate…
Suddenly she knew.
That was what she had that IT did not have…
She could stand there and she could love Charles Wallace.
To be honest, I thought it was a bit lame the first time I read it, sort of a cheap way out for the writer. Trite. Cliché. How can standing there saying, “I love you, I love you,” be any sort of weapon?
But the more I think and read and listen, the more I have come to the conclusion that it has to be true. It just has to be. I’ve seen it. Truth spoken in love can shatter lies and soften hearts. Loving encouragement can be just the thing to motivate someone to be all they were meant to be. Love can reach in and rescue when nothing else can.
Why is this? Perhaps, it’s because it’s unexpected. It’s not a weapon that destroys, but rather one that heals. And by doing so it destroys the disease.
Most of us are familiar with 1 Corinthians 13, where Paul writes that “love never fails” and that “faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Romans 12:20-21 even goes so far as to say, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” It looks to me like love may be the most radical weapon we have.
Meg was right. Evil knows all about hate, but it cannot touch love. Love is our privilege and power. Since we alone are made in the image of God, only we have been given the gift of love.
If you want to make a difference in the world, try this: live love. Speak truth boldly, attack injustice fiercely, but in the end just radiate love. If you see those around you the way God does, and treat them as though they are worth his blood, you will leave evil without a leg to stand on. Satan cannot fight love; it disarms him completely. Seek out the darkest places, the blackest lies and heaviest chains, and then just stand there and offer love with everything you have.
I love you. Charles Wallace, you are my darling and my dear and the light of my life and the treasure of my heart. I love you. I love you. I love you.
Slowly his mouth closed. Slowly his eyes stopped their twirling. The tic in his forehead ceased its revolting twitch. Slowly he advanced toward her.
“I love you!” she cried. “I love you, Charles! I love you!”
Then suddenly he was running, pelting, he was in her arms, he was shrieking with sobs. “Meg! Meg! Meg!”
“I love you, Charles!” she cried again, her sobs almost as loud as his, her tears mingling with his. “I love you! I love you! I love you!”
And then watch the miracle happen…because the greatest of these is love.