Does the end justify the means?

My favorite epic tale is J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. I have read it several times, and even read the whole of it aloud (twice) to my children. It is a well-crafted tale of the conflict between good and evil; of power, corruption, valor and honor.

RingAt the center of the tale is a ring. The ring gives the wearer unlimited power. But those in the story who understand the true nature of power are in agreement: We can not, we dare not, wield that power. Not even to defeat the overwhelming evil which surrounds us.

Paul wrote:

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
(Philippians 2:5-8 NIV)

Could Jesus have defeated the works of the devil, and rescued humanity from its sin by wielding the power of God Almighty? Perhaps. But at what cost? It would certainly not have been an expression of the God who is Love.

Can we use political might (or support politicians who do so) in order to forcefully achieve righteous goals? Perhaps. But at what cost? The exercise of falsehood, oppression, manipulation, and the like will always damage both the recipient as well as the perpetrator.

Dominance and love are diametrically opposed to one another. I choose to represent love.

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Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™