If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.
That was the Bible verse of the day for Friday and I have to admit that I laughed out loud. No, it isn’t funny but it is astonishingly appropriate.
How many would-be discussions lately degenerate into name calling? If you didn’t join the Women’s March, you’re a conservative misogynist. If you aren’t a female veteran, then you really haven’t fought for anyone’s rights you tantrum throwing liberal.
Obviously, these are not people who knew my grandmother who would remind them that honey is sweeter than vinegar and everyone can be caught with a little honey. Yeah, G-ma had an amazing sweet tooth but she also had a point.
Sweetness and love win people over a whole lot faster than name calling and hate. Speak without love and you’re liable to sound harsh and possibly even hateful. That’s what happens when you call names and belittle others. You look small minded and . . . small.
It doesn’t matter what realities and truths you know, if you don’t have love you won’t connect with people and your message will go out to no one. Love brings with it compassion and empathy. It carries grace and generosity. It opens your ears so you can hear and your heart so you can feel. Do this and you will be able to share the realities that you see.
It doesn’t matter how much you give and how much effort you put out, when you do it without love . . . pointless. Why? Because it will look like you are doing it all for your own glory. If, on the other hand, you openly and honestly care for other people, that will show and your actions will be seen as generosity.
Love begets caring. Love begets understanding. Love begets empathy. Without it? Vinegar, harsh and stinging.
It’s your choice – honey or vinegar?