Contrasting Power and Love

Power-Love2People who are hurt by others too often are hurt because someone is seeking power—-power over you. Forgiveness, in contrast, concerns love—-loving those who are not loving you. Below, from the book, 8 Keys to Forgiveness, are 11 contrasts between power over and love.

Power says, “Me first.” Love asks, “How may I serve you today?”

Power manipulates. Love builds up.

Power exhausts others. Love refreshes them.

Power is rarely happy in any true sense. Love understands happiness.

Power is highly rewarded in cultures that worship money. Love considers money to be a means to an end, not an end itself.

Power steps on others. Love is a bridge to others’ betterment.

Power wounds—even the one who exerts the power. Love binds up the wounds, even in the self.

Power is joyless even when it is in control. Love includes joy.

Power does not understand love. Love does understand power and is not impressed.

Power sees forgiveness as weakness and so, in rejecting forgiveness, resentments might remain. Love sees forgiveness as a strength and so works to eliminate resentment.

Power rarely lasts because it eventually turns inward, exhausting itself. Look at slavery in the United States, or the supposedly all-powerful “Thousand-Year Reich” of the Nazis, or even the presence of the Berlin Wall, intended to imprison thought, freedom, and persons . . . forever. Love endures even in the face of grave power against it.


Enright, Robert (2015-09-28). 8 Keys to Forgiveness (8 Keys to Mental Health) (pp. 99-100). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.
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Categories: New Ideas, Our Forgiveness Blog


  1. Samantha says:

    Nice contrast between the sinister and the sublime. It surely has made me think.

  2. Chris says:

    I agree, Samantha. Power really can lay a person low. It is good to see how love contrasts with this all-too-popular approach to life, power.

  3. Lynn Hare says:

    What a beautiful contrast: power and love. I am learning that when I’m in conflict, and having a hard time forgiving someone, that prayer changes everything. God opens my eyes to my need for humility. I walk in the other person’s shoes. I seek to understand. And when that happens, we both soften and tension dissolves. Beautiful post, Robert. It touched my heart.

  4. Robert says:

    Thank you, Lynn. Your process of forgiveness sounds important and effective.


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