“And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
- 1 Corinthians 13:13
Love, I have no doubt is the strongest force in the universe. Likewise I’m equally convinced that the most dangerous force in the universe is the absence of love. Since my belief is not based on scientific proof I suspect a brilliant nuclear scientist who understands protons and neutrons might argue otherwise – a debate I’d rather not engage in by the way. But I know I’m right as surely as I know I am breathing air this very moment; for you see I don’t know much about nuclear science, but I’ve lived long enough that I’ve learned a great deal about love and its power.
My friends Rand and Colleen Southard for many years operated a residential treatment facility for severely abused boys. Most of these children, ages seven to seventeen, came from the streets of our cities, homeless, mal-nourished, mothers who were drug addicted and fathers who were absent. These children arrived at the facility frightened and often times violent. It was not unusual when they were fed their first meal – perhaps their first balanced, nutritious meal ever – they would stuff mashed potatoes in their pockets for fear of not being fed again. But for all the physical deprivation in their young lives – food, shelter, etc. – Rand and Colleen pointed out over and over that the most devastating impact on them had been the absence of love. They literally had no concept of love, neither receiving nor giving. Unfortunately our prison systems are populated with people who like these boys have no concept of love either; and the same holds true for street gangs. It is the most dangerous force in the universe.
During those years Rand and Colleen operated that facility they provided a safe environment, food, shelter, and education to those children. But their most powerful influence was in displacing the absence of love with the presence of it. Love is divine, the very essence of our Creator, and that is how I know it is the strongest force in the universe. For as “faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”