If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1
Sirens screamed! Guards were alerted. Spotlights blinked in the night and illuminated every nook and cranny in Wandsworth prison in England. The general alarm was sounded for a desperate criminal who had escaped. Hours later the prisoner was discovered. Guards traced him to a large chimney atop a building. With guns drawn, they cautiously peered inside. The prisoner was there all right, covered with grime and soot. Salty tears in little rivers coursed down his dirty face as he gently sobbed, “Nobody loves me! Nobody loves me!”
All of us at sometime or another feel like that. While the cry of loneliness comes not from a prison chimney, it still rises from the prison of a lonely heart. As Howard Whitman once wrote, “Lovelessness is a prison wherein most of us are inmates at some time or another.” Psychologists are uncertain as to why love is really so important in life. Dr. A. Brill, a psychiatrist, says, “It is quite as essential for a person to have love as to have pure air and food to sustain him. Love is to human beings what magnetic attraction is to molecules. It is the glue that holds the human race together and checks it from drifting into the salt estranging sea of loneliness.”
Have you ever considered the relationship between loneliness and the problems of the world? What has happened to love? In recent years the genuine article seems to have been replaced with a counterfeit. With the changes in society and families, love‑‑old‑fashioned love‑‑seems to be in short supply. A generation ago, families were usually quite large, but no matter how large a family, a mother’s presence seemed to guarantee love and security. Love was part of the birthright of every child. Today, families are so diversified and fragmented that the pressures of daily living often stifle our ability to love and show concern.
Lovelessness plays a major part in the woes of life today. Watch psychiatrists battle emotional illness‑‑schizophrenia, depression, neurosis, and other spiraling mental disorders‑‑and discover that a lack of love is one of the tap‑roots of mental illness. Watch pediatricians argue whether babies should eat “on‑demand” feedings or follow a schedule‑‑eating every three hours even if you have to wake them up. Notice that it does not make a great deal of difference whether a baby follows a schedule or takes it on demand when a mother’s love is stronger than the feeding schedule.
Is it possible that a lack of old‑fashioned love‑‑the spanking, caring kind of love‑‑is the real cause for today’s juvenile delinquents? Is this the real reason for a generation in rebellion, a generation who doesn’t know right from wrong? We need the kind of love today that Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians 13. An eleven‑year‑old girl caught the meaning of it all when she paraphrased what Paul wrote. Here are her thoughts:
“Though I speak softly and sweetly, if I don’t have love, I’m just making a bunch of noise. And though I’m very talented and very smart, if I don’t have love, I am like an empty shell. And though I give away everything to the poor, and give my body to be burned at the stake for what I believe, and don’t have love, it doesn’t do me any good. Love can stand a lot of hurting and still be kind. Love doesn’t act smart, doesn’t think bad things about people, isn’t happy when someone does wrong, but is happy when they do right. Love can put up with anything, hopes everything will turn out good. Love never lets a person down.”
It may be late, but it isn’t too late to regain what we’ve lost. When we rediscover a Father’s love for us, we’ll learn to love each other as He loves us. It’s the only way it can ever happen.
Resource reading: 1 Corinthians 13.
- 1 Corinthians 13