A church friend expressed concern that a certain song whose lyrics said “without love we have nothing” sounded really sad. He proposed to change the lyrics (and tune).
Here’s what I wrote in response:
<1> Actually, the lyrics (“without love we have nothing”) are quite biblical and reasonable.
1 Corinthians 13:1-7 New International Version (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, *I am nothing.* 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, *I gain nothing.*
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
<2> Just because something makes you feel sad, doesn’t mean it’s automatically bad / wrong.
2 Corinthians 7:8-16 New English Translation (NET Bible)
8 For even if I made you sad by my letter, I do not regret having written it (even though I did regret it, for I see that my letter made you sad, though only for a short time). 9 Now I rejoice, not because you were made sad, but because you were made sad to the point of repentance. For you were made sad as God intended, so that you were not harmed in any way by us. 10 *For sadness as intended by God produces a repentance that leads to salvation, leaving no regret,* but worldly sadness brings about death.
<Conclusion> It is nice to see how the apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthians, addresses the fact that what he wrote in 1 Corinthians was meant to produce godly sorrow.
So nice that in this case the bible directly addresses my church friend’s concerns about the lyrics.
<Bonus> Related passage:
Ecclesiastes 7:2-6 New International Version (NIV)
2 It is better to go to a house of mourning
than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
the living should take this to heart.
3 Frustration is better than laughter,
because a sad face is good for the heart.
4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.
5 It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person
than to listen to the song of fools.
6 Like the crackling of thorns under the pot,
so is the laughter of fools.
This too is meaningless.