In 1995, Dr. Gary Chapman published his very well known theories on what he calls “Love Languages.” He postulates that there are 5 universal love languages that everyone needs to hear, speak, and recognize. They are time, touch, words of affirmation, gifts, and acts of service. He makes it clear that while we all need to hear all 5 languages, we don’t need to hear all 5 from everyone we meet and there is usually one we hear louder than any of the others. I like to go a step further and focus on how we speak these love languages. We tend to speak one better than the others, and it isn’t always the one we hear the best.
For example, I have a friend who is great at giving gifts but would rather you come spend time with her than anything else. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. No language is better than the other.
With that said, I challenge everyone to intentionally learn to speak all 5 languages and practice them.
NO GREATER COMMANDMENT
Jesus persistently tells us that Love is incredibly important. In John 13:34 he flat out commands us to love one another. God defines what love is and what it isn’t in Colossians 13. Then just to make sure we got it he repeats Himself in Mark 12:30-31 saying, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
No greater commandment! Fantastic! Everyone on board? Lets intentionally say I love you and I care about you in as many languages as possible!
"I LOVE YOU."
That’s a really easy principal to support.
Here is the hard part. Say “I love you” to the people that you aren’t already saying it to. The people who don’t look like you, vote like you, act like you, or live where you do. People who have done, will do, or are doing things you never would. People you disagree with. The people whom if you ever tried to utter the words “I love you” to, your tongue would hide behind your clenched teeth and you would have to bolt your feet to the ground to keep them from stomping off.
The lonely neighbor who talks way to much. I love you.
The family member you will never impress. I love you.
The co-worker you would fire if it were up to you. I love you.
The homeless man you walk by. I love you.
The server who is clearly having a bad day and it’s starting to affect yours. I love you.
Notice you don’t have to particularly like these people to love on them.
Because its not about weather or not you like them. Its about if God likes them. And guess what? He does. So love on them. Because God loves them. And You are his hands and feet in this world.
If you love Him, you must love them.
So, because of and in spite of everything they are, go spend a moment with that neighbor. Give that family member a hug. Help your co-worker keep their deadline. Ask that homeless man what his name is. Give a good tip to that server.
And not just once! And not just twice!
Continuously, intentionally, relentlessly — just like God loves you.