(Jesus said) "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:34-35
I don't know what's happening to our young men. It's true, I don't.
My confusion stems from a research paper that Pennsylvania State University saw published in the Journal of Social Psychology. It seems the university had interviewed a bunch of young men and the thing they found was, well, they found out that it was the men, yes, the men, and not the women, who were first in saying those three little words: "I love you."
It's true. Men were three times more likely to initiate that verbal expression of emotional commitment. The researchers were surprised. I'm surprised. Even the men who took the survey were surprised.
Of course, there is an ongoing discussion as to what those findings mean.
There are some who think this proves the modern young man has become the perceptive, sensitive, caring individual his mother spent years trying to shape -- the kind of young man eligible ladies have been praying they would someday meet.
And there are the cynics and skeptics who believe "a young man will say anything if it will advance his case and take him to where he wants to go."
As for me, I find myself disagreeing with the university's study. That's because I am absolutely sure it's not the man, nor is it the woman, who is first to say, "I love you."
Always, and I say this without fear of contradiction or exception, the first person to say "I love you" is the Lord. Long before the foundations of the earth were made, He loved us. When our first ancestors sinned in the Garden of Eden, He loved us with a sad love, but He still loved us.
It was that love which had Him promise He would send His Son to offer His life as the price that would ransom us from the forces of evil and death. It was God's love that watched as Jesus breathed His last and claimed victory on Calvary's crest. It was that love which sends the Holy Spirit into this world and, by means of Word and Sacrament, calls people from damnation to salvation.
Now I don't fault Pennsylvania State University for not expanding their search to include the Lord. It can sometimes be difficult for an institution of higher learning to make an appointment with the Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier.
Even so, I thought it was something that needed to be said. We have been blessed to have a God who is always first, always faithful in saying, "I love you."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks You have made it a practice to show love to those who are not worthy of being loved. When Jesus walked the earth, He touched the leper and showed compassion to serious sinners. Now, because of Jesus' life, death and resurrection, You show love to me. May I reflect that love to others. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries