This is My commandment,
That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
The power for good that comes from loving one another can be extraordinarily strong. The possibility of long-lasting positive impact from experiencing that love could be much greater than ever imagined.
Consider the following story, the facts of which I once heard related in a sermon by Dr. Robert H. Schuller.*
Back in the 1950s, graduate students at Johns Hopkins University tried to predict the future of a group of 200 boys growing up in a crime-ridden, inner-city neighborhood. Considering the disadvantaged youngsters’ dismal environment, the students forecast a bleak outcome for the boys, estimating that the majority of them would eventually be sent to prison.
A quarter of a century later, subsequent graduate students revisited the study. They were able to trace 180 of the original 200 boys, now grown men. The graduate students were astonished to learn that only six of them had ever been incarcerated.
In seeking to ascertain how such an amazing result could have come about, the students asked each man to name the greatest influence of his life. Three-fourths of them singled out the same person, a teacher.
The graduate students ultimately located the teacher – an elderly lady, then living in a retirement community. They spoke to her of the surprising outcome of their study and asked if she had followed any special course of action in guiding her pupils.
A sweet smile and faraway look appeared on her face as the teacher replied, “No . . . no . . . I just loved those boys. I just loved them.”
*Let’s Build a New Tomorrow, Dr. Robert H. Schuller, 1980.