THE DIFFERENCE LOVE MAKES.
Early in World War II, as Paris was being bombed mercilessly by Nazi planes, a French doctor named Rene Spitz made a remarkable discovery. He was appalled by the high death rate among babies in shelters and orphanages. Upon closer examination, he discovered that babies who received regular affection fared better than others. Intrigued, he conducted a brief experiment, dividing the babies into two groups. Both groups of infants were cared for physically; they were fed identical diets, bathed regularly, and their diapers were changed at regular intervals. There was only one difference between the two groups. One group of babies received hugs and kisses from their caretakers; they were cradled and held and rocked and patted. The other group received no affection from their caretakers but were cared for and provided for in every other way.
You can probably guess what happened. The babies who were cuddled and loved not only grew but thrived. The other babies, who had all their needs met except their need for love and affection, did not grow as fast; they cried more and succumbed to more illnesses than the opposite group. Their development was measurably stunted until the study was discontinued.
Those two groups of babies were different only in the amount of love and affection they received. But what a difference that made in their health and development! The study revealed that children who are not treated with affection do not develop properly, even though they may be well nourished otherwise. It also shows how much human beings need to receive and give love in order to thrive.
That need doesn't change as we get older. Neither does the effect of love on a person's life. Obeying God's commands to love others can bring you love in return, which can actually make you healthier and happier. Obeying God's commands to love one another can help you "become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." Obeying God's commands to love others can make a huge difference in your health and development. That's just part of the difference love makes in your life and in the lives of those around you.
REFLECT: Through today's Scripture reading we learn that godliness will lead to love for other Christians and then to an even wider kind of love. What is that wider love? Do you think it happens overnight? How do you think it happens?
How have you been blessed (made happier and healthier) by loving others? How have others been blessed by your love?
PRAY: "Thank you, God, for the way I feel when I let others know that I love them. Show me someone who needs my love this week."