“I love you.”
Words that bring comfort, peace, and joy to our heart.
I have found, however, that sometimes our words can be hollow. Have you ever had someone profess to love you, yet you knew they didn’t really know you well enough to profess such affection? Or they declared their love for you, yet their behavior suggested something different? How about someone professing they were sorry for something they had done or said but never resulted in any change in behavior? Or how about ever hearing a quick, “praying for you” as someone turned to leave? Did it ever leave you wondering if their profession was genuine or just as empty as a conversation about the weather?
While words can bring comfort and encouragement, sometimes our actions have a bigger impact and underscore the sincerity of our sentiments.
Every February there is a heightened emphasis on expressions of love thanks to the celebration of Valentine’s Day. So, it seemed like a fitting time to explore other ways we could express love besides just declaring it verbally.
“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)
- Listen Without Interrupting – When we give someone our full attention, listen intently without interrupting or thinking about how we will respond, we show love by demonstrating that their concerns are a priority.
- Pray Without Ceasing – When we offer to pray for someone and we continue to do so until those prayers are answered, that demonstrates love by communicating that their concerns are a concern to us as well.
- Thanking Without Grumbling – anyone can find fault with situations, but it shows love when we can look past the discomfort or the frustration and instead of complaining, find something to be thankful for. That builds up rather than tearing down.
- Forgive Without Condemning – One of the greatest demonstrations of love we can offer is to forgive someone who has wronged us, and choose not to retaliate, condemn, or punish them in the process. True forgiveness means we no longer reserve the right to determine their fate, but we release them to God who will work in their heart for their good and His glory.
- Promise Without Forgetting – When someone makes a promise then doesn’t see it through to completion, it sends the message that they are not trustworthy and they don’t care enough for another to make them a priority. When we keep our promises, we demonstrate our love by proving ourselves trustworthy and committed.
- Speak Without Accusing – We can profess our love to someone but when we speak accusingly to someone, we place more priority on being right or proving a point than on caring for another’s feelings, self-esteem, or growth. Speaking without accusation is another way of sharing love without saying the words, “I love you.”
- Answer Without Arguing – While we cannot control what others say to us, we can choose our response. Engaging in an argument places a higher priority on being right than on respect and unity. So answering someone without arguing is another demonstration of love because it indirectly places another’s needs before our own need to prove our innocence or someone else’s failure.
- Give Without Expectation – When we give something, whether material goods, time, or affection to another, when we expect something in return (even just a certain reaction), it cheapens the gift and turns it into an “exchange.” Giving freely with no expectation for reaction or reciprocation shows selfless love.
So, while we have the opportunity to share love with our words, our actions back up those sentiments. How will you demonstrate your love to others this week?
Because of Him,
(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)
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