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1 John 3:18

Love in the Abstract … Not the Concrete

A story about a professor of psychology illustrates the difference between showing love and simply talking about it. The man had no children of his own, but whenever he saw a neighbor scolding a child for some wrongdoing he would say, “You should love your boy, not punish him.” One hot summer day the professor was repairing his concrete driveway. Tired after several hours of work, he laid down the trowel, wiped the perspiration from his forehead, and started toward the house. Just then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a mischievous little boy putting his foot in the fresh cement. He rushed over, grabbed him, and was about to spank him when a neighbor leaned out his window and said, “Watch it, Professor! Don’t you remember? You must love the child!” At this, he yelled back furiously, “I do love him in the abstract, but not in the concrete!”

H.G.B., Our Daily Bread, February 2

Poor Widow

In his Treasury of Quotations, F. B. Proctor told the following story: A man was trying to get financial help for a widow who was in dire need, but his efforts were meeting with very little success. Even so, most of the people he contacted did express their regret over the sad situation of the poverty-stricken woman. The concerned man, refusing to give up, had high hopes as he approached a wealthy acquaintance, but he too refused to offer help. In declining the request, the rich man said, “I do want you to know, however, that I really feel sorry for that poor woman.” The one who was asking for the money responded, “I’m sure you do. But I’m afraid you don’t feel it in the right place.” “Oh, yes, I do,” the man replied, “I feel it very deeply in my heart.” The other responded, “That’s the problem. You feel it in the wrong place. I just wish those feelings were also in your pocket.”

R.W.D., Our Daily Bread, June 23