Love vs Empty Noise & Clanging Cymbals 1 Corinthians 13

How do people usually react to a loud, annoying, clanging sound?

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.   1 Corinthians 13:1-3

You would think that if someone understood all of God’s secret plans and were filled with knowledge, had faith that could move mountains, gave everything they owned to the poor, sacrificed their bodies, that this would mean they DID love others. But, that is not what it says in 1 Corinthians. It says that even if you did all these things but were not loving, you would just be making a lot of loud, obnoxious noise.

That is when others cover their ears and just stop listening.

Right after this, we are told what love is:

4LOVE IS: patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT


Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15    If someone is open and interested, we should be ready and prepared with an answer, gently and respectfully.  

If you have ever watched the movie ‘Groundhog Day’ (about a man – Bill Murray –  who kept reliving the same day over and over), you may remember the scenes with Ned, the life insurance salesman. That really annoying, pushy guy who was all about making a sale. And he is so annoying and obnoxious, that Bill Murray progresses from rolling his eyes, like ‘leave me alone’ to eventually hauling off and punching the salesman…with glee.

We may feel that we have the absolute greatest life insurance to offer, but others aren’t likely to listen if we present it in an unkind, confrontational, pushy way.


Jesus did use harsh language of righteous indignation toward the Pharisees who were leading people astray by trying to make them follow the law and rules, and keeping people from the truth of Gods way of salvation. For more about this see: Be Angry, But Sin Not

Also related: Throwing Your Pearls Before Swine




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