By Sunday Akin Olukoju
When you are told that something is from “above”, what comes to mind?
It means something from a higher place, an elevated level, or a higher ground. It refers to something that comes from beyond the skies. It means something from out of this world – out of outer space, so to speak!
It means something beyond the ordinary. It certainly does not refer to unidentified flying object (UFO). While a flying object is obviously lifeless or without feelings, something from above in this case is more than just ‘a thing’, but more of someone, a being with wonderful super human feelings.
In contrast, some things do come from below, from earthly things, and are usually of the earth, which can, and will wear and tear. Things from below will expire. But things from above can never expire.
Things from below will take us below. Things from above will lift us above – specifically, above pettiness, envy, greed, anger, selfishness, revenge, exploitation, and hatred. Things from below will drag us down into the mud of pigs – into unnecessary arguments, distractions, conspiracies, demonization, class and race bickering, stupid quarrels, and outright war!
Dove is symbolic – representing a thing of joy, a source of peace, the very essence of patience per excellence, overflowing gentleness, endearing warmth, kindness that travels with compassion, mercy that is consistently walking closely with meekness, as well as overwhelming tenderness bursting and blazing like irrepressible stars!
The dove from above brings love immeasurable, mercy without boundaries, and peace that can never be stolen, no matter what!
And so, what is the move of love? What could its purpose be? Where can it be found? One may even ask, ‘why the move of love’?
Saul of Tarsus who later became Paul the Apostle unpacked so much about the love from above in the epistle he wrote to some people in Corinth between AD 53 and 55. Paul sees the love from above as one that is ever patient.
I believe that it can never become ancient. His writing portrays this love as one that is ever kind. It brings a selfless presence of mind for humankind. He sees this love as one that will never envy.
It will also not carry an unpardonable curvy or heavy burden. He describes this love as one that does not boast. It will never roast anyone. It will always bring the needed rest that will eventually usher in the very best.
Paul also sees the love from above as one that is not proud. Also, it will never crowd or cloud one’s sense of reasoning. He says this love does not dishonor others. I know that it will never smother any other. He posits that this love is not self-seeking.
I believe that it is also not freaking but self-sacrificing. In Paul’s words, love is not easily angered. I believe that it cannot be shattered. It will rather see others well pampered and their prayers divinely answered.
Paul states that love keeps no record of wrongs. I also know that love sings only the songs of reconciliation and celebration. Love, according to Paul, delights not in evil. I also know that it sides not with the devil, but promotes anything civil, and rejoices with the truth that invigorates like the energy of the youth.
Love, in Paul’s words, always protects with the right effects, and it is one that always trusts with guts and remains ever just without distrust. This love always hopes while preventing a hoax. Love, Paul says, always perseveres, and obviously, full of cheers.
Love from above never fails but always sails gracefully with good details. Hence, the love from above is the greatest.
Human beings daily see the move of love like a dove from above in various ways.
Acts of kindnesses: The love from above displays random acts of kindnesses to the known and the unknown. In a world where wickedness is fast deepening its roots, the devastating effects continue to leave this wicked world bleeding. However, random acts of kindnesses will not consider creed, color or comments before blessing others.
Show of mercy: In a world where we are judged quickly, show of mercy will bring leniency and clemency. The world will experience more grace and compassion.
We will not be quick to condemn. Meekness and gentleness will replace rashness and hatred. Workplace gang-up will stop. Cut-throat competition in the market place will end. Trade war between states will abate.
Generosity: There is a global rat race of the bottom-line. Even governments are driving citizens crazy in the race of the bottom-line that has now seen human lives commoditized and commercialized. Few multimillionaires are produced today as a result of lack of generosity.
Massive employees are let go while the same amount of money will end up in the pockets of fewer people under the guise of a lean government and a profit-driven service delivery. As the public sector is getting streamlined, some public sector business people will line their pockets.
There has to be a display of generosity from neighbor to neighbor, government to citizens, and colleague to colleague.
Tolerance: Many today are condemning others of intolerance, even when the minorities are having their ways.
Tolerance is a move of love like a dove from above – where a meek majority will courageously embrace a small minority. This is what makes the world a peaceful place – where no one is inspired to kill someone just because the person stands for something that is completely opposed to the belief of majority.
In some parts of the world, we still have zero tolerance on so many fronts today. However, tolerance gives everyone the inalienable rights to their say and their way.
Forgiveness: In a world of instigation and litigation, the move of love reflects in automatic forgiveness, even when there is no confession and repentance from the other side. It could mean forgiveness of monetary debt.
It could mean material debt. It could even mean a moral burden. It gives no room for vindictiveness. It heals physical and emotional wounds quickly. It looks for excuses to free and write-off what many may see as unpardonable.
In a world where many carry a heavy burden of lack of forgiveness, the move of love helps to free the aggrieved from all pangs.
Empowering others: The world needs sacrificially selfless people who will go out of their ways to lift up and empower others. The world is bleeding profusely from undue pride and arrogance, unnecessary competition and confusion, as well as beastly and deadly greed and exploitation.
The world is daily witnessing dogs eating dogs and hens tearing at each other’s intestine. No, we need a world where humans seek each other’s good without any ulterior motive.
Yes, we need a new world where the move of love is like a dove from above – where and when love is all out to improve the condition of all parties concerned, reprove the wicked, remove all dirt and disgrace, joyfully approve the uplifting universal standard for living, and subsequently disprove and disapprove the lies of this wicked world.
(❚ Dr. Sunday Akin Olukoju is the Director of Distance Education of Providence Theological Seminary, a community newspaper correspondent, and the president of a community organization)