A s a teenager, I wanted to find out what “Love” meant. The World Wide Web had just hit Africa, and Google had not been invented then, but we still had search engines powered by Microsoft, chatrooms and discussion forums. One definition that I came across made me roar in laughter:
“Love is a feeling you feel when you feel a feeling you have never felt before!”
We err when we think that “February is the month of Love”, and therefore, all the “love” activities are centered on couples. The “February love month” has even been monetized, and I am guessing many people will heave a heavy sigh of relief this time around because of Covid19. It is not uncommon to see people sending themselves bouquets of flowers and chocolates so that their peers can see that they are loved too.
The challenge of love, my friends is that it is increasingly detached from the human psyche. We think that love is only between a couple. Could it be the reason why we do not see love in many other spheres of life? Did you know for instance, that leadership is love in action? Did you know that productivity in your purpose is also love in action?
Most certainly love creates movement as does leadership. Therefore, it is safe to say that true leadership is initiated and sustained through love. That is the greatest challenge of love today. When we talk about leadership, we are not just talking about the government leadership, church leadership, business leadership and all. We are in fact, talking about human leadership. Leadership is a human thing.
Most certainly love creates movement as does leadership. Therefore, it is safe to say that true leadership is initiated and sustained through love.
Anyone who espouses love cannot help but be a leader! Napoleon Bonaparte famously said: “A leader is a dealer in hope”, but there is no dealership in hope if there is no love. Love is the basis and the foundation of leadership.
In February 2021, Ugandans woke up to several news headlines. One screamed that “MPs Back 7-Year Term For Elected Leaders”. Another news headline screamed that “Government Moves to Tax Cash Withdrawals from Banks”. When you read such and when you hear about what’s going on, you can’t stop but think about the challenge of genuine love.
By the way, it is easy to point fingers. The hard part is to put the love in action. For those of us who are pointing fingers at the leadership of the day, are we exempt from the challenge of genuine love? Do we even have the moral authority to do so?
These questions can be best answered when genuine love is put on the crucible and tested. What is love? There could be several definitions, but I do believe that the following are the challenges of genuine love.
Something that is authentic is true, dependable and genuine. You can rely on it. When I purchase an original iPhone, I am given a warranty as well as a guarantee that it will work as promised. If it doesn’t, Apple will bear the burden, the cost and the dent of their brand. Remember when Volkswagen recalled their cars a while back?
Can we say the same about our love? Is it authentic? Does the leadership we see or express have authenticity in that it delivers as promised? That is the challenge of genuine love.
One of the strongest forces on earth is passion. It is the same force that Jesus used. We are told that there are precious metals in heaven where he came from as pavement. Yet, he came armed with nothing but passion. The greatest challenge of genuine love and leadership is passion. Passion by the way is always about the care and well-being you have towards others. It is this passion that also provides for anger whenever those you love and care for are being harassed.
By now we know that love is not a feeling you feel when you feel a feeling you have never felt before. That’s just too amorphous and selfish to say the least. Love and care go hand in hand. The challenge of genuine love is to disregard the self but to care for others. When we look at leadership around us, can we say that this challenge is being handled well?
I have already said that leadership is simply love in action. Leadership is about movement. The challenge of love is to make a difference. If I claim to love anything but I never aspire to make it better, that love is questionable. There has to be movement from good to better and from better to best.
From best to outstanding and from outstanding to glorious. Even then, there has to be movement from glory to glory. That’s the challenge of genuine love. If there is no positive movement, no improvement, that love is questionable. That tells you that if there is negative movement, that’s not love. That’s selfishness.
Genuine love in leadership is so kingly and magnificent. It talks about a resolve to move things so that others can benefit. It is what caused Jesus to tell Peter “Get behind me Satan”, and set his face like flint towards Jerusalem (where he would pay the ultimate price of love).
It is what caused Thomas Sankara to revolutionize Burkina Faso. It is what caused Singapore to rise up from a third world country to a first world country in less than half a century. It is this love that sees despots deposed and people delivered. It reminds us of Martin Luther King Jnr, Malcom X, Nelson Mandela, Ken Saro Wiwa, Benedict Kiwanuka and Festo Kiverenge. These men rose up to the challenge of genuine love.
It is one thing to talk about selflessness but quite another to talk about sacrifice. This is to bear the pain, pay the price needed for the transaction of love to happen. In other words, the challenge of genuine love is to pay up all that is needed for the people you love to have a better life or to be delivered from the doldrums.
To sacrifice is to accept the inconvenience. It is to lose your own time, sleep, resources, comfort, the love of your friends and loved ones, your “entitlements” and so on for the sake of the betterment of someone else. That’s the challenge. Wonder why mothers’ day is always colorful? It’s a testament that the challenge of genuine love has been achieved the world over.
Finally, the challenge of genuine love is that it will not be readily accepted by everyone. The greatest love ever given is by God. Today, increasingly, Jesus Christ is becoming less and less popular in different poles being done.
At times, your genuine love will be opposed, ridiculed, and even aggressively fought. That again is another great challenge of leadership today. In every country in existence, I challenge you to do a quiet analysis. Chances are that the opposed, the ridiculed, the fought and the ostracized are people who have rose up to the challenge of genuine love.
The greater the persecution, the greater the evidence of genuine love.