Love First: How to Destroy Stereotypes and Defeat Fear

Love First

Love First Blog GraphicHow to Destroy Stereotypes and Defeat Fear


Preemptive love.

What does that mean?

You’ve heard the term, “preemptive strike” before. It means “we are going to attack an enemy before they attack us.” We attack first because we fear an attack. It’s a strategy used to disable an enemy, to knockout their supplies and resources, to render them ineffective, effectively negating their plans.

According to a quick google search, preemptive means: “

Serving or intended to preempt or forestall something, especially to prevent attack by disabling the enemy.

So, back to preemptive love:

  • The enemy: fear
  • The attack: love

“Preemptive” means to act first. Preemptive love means to choose love first. Choose love before you know the outcome. Choose love before you know anything. Choose love in the face of fear.

Love first. Ask questions later. – Ringo Starr

Jeremy Courtney lives in Iraq among a people group shrouded with strong stereotypes. He chose to move there and make it his home. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you, like most Americans, probably have strong opinions about Iraq. It’s not the safest place to live, for more than one reason. So, it raises an interesting question: What would it take for you to move there with your family and make it your home? Since Jeremy has been there, he has endured death threats, bombings, imprisonments, and intense living conditions. It has not been easy. But he was compelled. Something pulled on his heart so strongly that it trumped any fear. What would motivate someone so strongly?


Jeremy is leading an organization that is providing life-saving heart transplants and surgeries to children in Iraq and surrounding countries. One father with a dying child changed his heart forever. [You can hear about that and Jeremy’s story on the podcast] Jeremy’s journey of giving children new hearts has done the same thing for him. He decided to love, first. The result is transforming a nation.

When we “preemptively strike” with love, fear is disabled. It loses its power.

We have been taught to fear certain people. But what would happen if we choose love first, before we try to confirm our fears. We find we’ve been lied to. We may find that these people are a lot more like us than we realized. We’re not all that different. We share many of the same joys…and pains.

As Jeremy has said: “Pain does not discriminate. If we push past our limiting beliefs about others, we’ll find that we all share the same pains, the same hurt.” Jeremy saw the pain in that father’s eyes, and he sees the same pain in many others. Preemptive love does not ignore the pain because of stereotypes.

I’ll leave you with one more quote from Jeremy Courtney:

“Because of this, I’ve spent the last five years living in Iraq as a civilian, trying to promote a different way to live. Instead of nurturing a life of preemptive strikes, in which I hurt you before you can hurt me; or preemptive defense, in which I fortify myself against you before you can hurt me, I’m trying to live out of preemptive love. I admit that it may be debatable as foreign policy, but my experience in Iraq, through bombings and fatwas calling for our death, is that it is a wonderful way to live as an individual, a family, and a community.

Because we all know that violence unmakes the world. But, what often goes unreported is the many ways in which preemptive love unmakes violence. Preemptive love actually remakes the world through healing. [Credit: The Daily Beast]

You can hear Jeremy’s incredible story on the podcast here.

So, choose Love. Act first. Defeat Fear.

Be uncommon,



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