Those three words are bandied about a lot – often with very little meaning attached. Love, however, is an enormous concept, the most massive of emotions, the depth of which seems to still surprise us with its wonders – a veritable Mariana Trench of fascinating discovery.
Love can catch us off guard, love can encourage and infuriate us. Love is both decision and feeling. There are countless poems, stories, songs, and movies about love – an inexhaustible topic and innumerable variations.
Years ago I read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, it was eye-opening. Two people who love each other very deeply could leave the other feeling unloved simply by expressing love in a way that was not understood or felt. It seems strange that so much could be lost in translation, but I was reminded of a discussion I had yesterday with a friend. We talked about different types of learners and how difficult it would be to try to learn in today’s COVID online classroom environment. We are both hands-on/visual learners, and I relayed a humorous story to her about when I was first married. My husband is an auditory learner. It means I leave notes and reminders everywhere and use calendars because I will forget if I don’t write it down. He writes down nothing and remembers everything he hears. So, I would constantly be frustrated that the notes I left for him everywhere would go unread. He would be frustrated that ten minutes in, I had already forgotten what he talked to me about or had me listen to.
The thought of different types of learners made me revisit my understanding of different types of love languages and how we show love to our families and how God shows love to us. Love is so much more than just the words, and I wondered if Jesus followed the five language rule/differentiated learner model. Did Jesus show HIs love with: “Words of Affirmation”, “Quality Time”, “Receiving Gifts”, “Acts of Service”, and “Physical Touch”?
The Bible isn’t full of times Jesus screamed, I love you, bro! But, the Bible is filled with ways He demonstrates His love. Jesus affirms John the Baptist, and he affirms Mary Magdeline when she washes his feet with her perfume. He spent three years of quality time with his disciples. He gave the gift of wedding wine, of food for thousands, of healing. He washes the disciples’ feet as an act of service. He touches the untouchable – touching those who need healing. Jesus showed his love for us in so many ways, His actions spoke the words.
So, as I begin this new school year – I’m going to revisit the love languages of my husband and children and “tell” them I love them the way Jesus did – in a way they can hear.