Inna Stasyuk Aesthetics

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October 2015

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In the Voice of Love

Written by , Posted in Love Life

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Sometimes we can go our entire lives hearing something, reading it over and over, even quoting it, without ever really understanding it. Sometimes, some of the most profound truths are turned into bumper stickers, repeated again and again, until their depth is made shallow, and their meaning is lost.

As a Christian, one of my favorite verses to quote was 1 Corinthians 13:1, “if I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” It is ironic, that only after I left my faith, I truly understood the meaning of this stale saying.

As a Christian, I was the subject of that passage, and it was written to me, for my sake. I understood the passage to mean that even if I had all the knowledge of the world, and even if I embodied all of wisdom, without love, I was nothing. Without love, I was doomed for eternal damnation. Without love, all my good was cancelled out.

It was actually while going through the comments and the emails I received after publishing my latest blog, that the meaning of the passage unfolded before me. Some of the responses were disrespectful, rude, accusatory but others were kind, sincere, and well meaning. I noticed that those written in anger, bitterness, and hate, didn’t strike a single chord within my heart. Maybe just a slight feeling of pity and a silent plea that my heart would never grow that insensitive or that cold. However, those written in love, with sincerity and genuine care warmed my heart, and if I could, I’d reach through the wires of the internet and hug every one of those beautiful souls.

It was here, in this desire to embrace and to hear those who opened their hearts with love, even though we may have opposing ideas and views, that I understood the essence of 1 Corinthians 13:1.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

The calling of a Christian is to speak the gospel, it is to preach the gospel, not for the sake of the Christian, but for the sake of others, for the sake of the hearers. In Christianity, the gospel is a beautiful message, it is more beautiful than the tongues of angels and men, it is its own language and even more pleasant. However, when that gospel, regardless of how beautiful, and how pleasant it is, is spoken through a heart of anger, bitterness, hatred, slander, belittlement, it goes unheard. No one listens to it, because no one cares what you have to say. So even though you may be speaking in the language of the gospel, even though your message may be valuable within itself, to the hearers you are nothing more than a cymbal that makes noise. Your words are pointless, they go unheard, and you might as well stay silent. People listen when they feel loved, they hear when they are genuinely cared for. 

So if you truly believe in the gospel, and you truly want to convey a message without coming off as a noisy cymbal, then tune your heart first. Make certain that your message is spoken through a heart of genuine love, and sincere care. 

I believe Corinthians 13:1 can be applied to every single person. It doesn’t matter if you are secular or religious. It doesn’t matter whether you are a humanist, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Mormon, atheist, or an agnostic. In the end, we all have a message, and if we want that message to be heard, we have to first learn to love. Without love, our words, and our message will be nothing more than a noise, no one cares to listen to. Only the language of love can open the ears and hearts of those around us.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”

As a Christian, I was the subject of that passage, and it was written to me, for my sake. I understood the passage to mean that even if I had all the knowledge of the world, and even if I embodied all of wisdom, without love, I was nothing. Without love, I was doomed for eternal damnation. Without love, all my good was cancelled out.

As a Humanist, the people around me are the subject of this passage, and it is written to me, for their sake. I now understand the passage to mean that even if I have all the knowledge of the world, and even if I embody all of wisdom, without love, it doesn’t matter, no one will hear me. Without love, my words have no meaning to the people around me. Without kindness, my message, no matter how powerful or how valuable, will remain unheard.

I don’t know if I misunderstood the verse then, or I am misunderstanding it now, but I like this new meaning. 

Namaste,


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