Pathway to Peace
“Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
Harvard University performed a long-term study to learn what brings joy to one’s life. Entitled, the “Grant and Glueck Study,” The Grant study kept track of 456 poor people in Boston from 1939 to 2014. At the same time, the Glueck study kept track of 268 graduates from Harvard’s classes of 1939–1944. Two of the young Harvard students ended up being President of the United States and Editor of the Washington Post, John F. Kennedy and Ben Bradlee respectively.
The Harvard Gazette states, “After following the surviving Crimson men for nearly 80 years as part of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the world’s longest studies of adult life, researchers have collected a cornucopia of data on their physical and mental health.” To summarize the study in a nutshell, “The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health,” said Robert Waldinger, director of the study, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care, too. That, I think, is the revelation.” Likewise, “Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives,” the study revealed. “Those ties protect people from life’s discontents, help to delay mental and physical decline, and are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, or even genes. That finding proved true across the board among both the Harvard men and the inner-city participants.”
Our world has changed so much since 1939. One of the major changes is that our contemporary society has become more fractured. Many of us are separated from family and friends. It has helped to create a society that is less joyous. Psalm 4:7 states, “You have put joy in my heart more than when their grain and wine abound.” Our focus should be on relationships – and the greatest relationship is with God. Church provides the one-of-a-kind opportunity to find joy. Church gives us the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with God and kind people. Make a commitment today to focus on your relationships with family, friends, and with God. Both the Bible and Social Science promises that this will bring you joy!