Those three words
are said too much
they’re not enough
~Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
We say them/text them/write them all the time in this household. And I’m glad. But what if we’re all talk and no action? What does “I love you” mean if it’s not felt by the intended receiver?
Years ago, I heard Gary Chapman on the radio talking about “love languages”. The concept that we give and receive love in unique ways impacted my heart and mind and I’ve never forgotten it. The point of giving and showing love is for the other person to perceive it as love. If they don’t, what good is it? So it’s our job, as the giver of the love, to express it in a way the receiver will understand.
Simple to say. Hard to do.
To truly love another person and express it in a way that shows them it’s genuine requires we know them well. It takes time. And energy. And sensitivity. And we’re usually all about easy aren’t we? We live in a self-indulgent, consumer based society where taking time out of our schedule to show love to someone else purely for their benefit isn’t encouraged or often portrayed. Sacrificial love isn’t a popular notion. We’re all about us. All about easy. All about convenience.
But love isn’t often convenient is it? It feels good…sometimes. We know we need love. We know other people need love. We like to give love because it’s usually returned with more love. But true love, sacrificial love, isn’t convenient or easy or safe. And sticking it out with your spouse or kids or certain friends or extended family members and showing them true love proves one of the hardest yet noblest tasks.
What a world this would be if we loved others in a way that they knew it was true and didn’t have to question our love and acceptance.
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. ~Jesus