Sounding Brass – Clanging Cymbals

From the scripture in 1 Corinthians 13 regarding love and what love looks like, the Apostle Paul gives us characteristics which exemplify our actions in love. The opening words of Paul’s writing in this chapter of Corinthians state, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”

My grandson was at the house recently. Connie was watching him in the kitchen while she prepared lunch. He held in his hand a large metal spoon and the top to one of Connie’s copper pots.

“Clang, clang, clang, clang,” the noise flowed through the den and into my bedroom. “Clang, clang, clang…” the noise flowed down into the basement. “Clang, clang, clang…” my Rottweiler napping on the front porch began to howl.

I went into the kitchen to help Connie finish the lunch preparation – anything to stop the noise.

The word “brass” comes from the Greek word “chalkos.” Chalkos was a bronze or copper type metal which had tin added to it. This gave it a hollow, empty sound when it was beaten. Like the lid of the metal pot, the noise that comes from this type of clanging is annoying and has an irritating echo to it. In the City of Corinth, pagan worship used a constant banging noise that flowed through the streets which people could not get away from. The pagans believed the piercing noise would bring a sense of spiritual ecstasy; and so, it never stopped.

Paul references this noise to compare it to people who profess or seem to be “super spiritual” but do not have the actions of love to back-up their tongues. Basically, Paul is telling us, without love to back up our words, we are like the pagans, clanging, banging, and irritating those around us.

There are people who say a lot – quote scriptures – preach in the parking lot of Walmart – have an opinion about everything – and speak words which flow from their mouths like oil… but their actions do not line-up with their words.

The question to ask yourself is, “Am I being a repellent for God? Or am I being a loving, spiritual voice for God?”

Most of us know if we are living by God’s Word or simply talking about it. But if anyone is uncertain, ask someone! But be willing to accept their answer.

Journal Question: How do I come across to people when I speak about God? Am I considered sounding brass? How can I change this?





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