1 John 3:18 says:
Dear Children, let us not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. (NLT)
Little Children, let us not love in word or talk, but in DEED and TRUTH. (ESV).
WOW – what a power packed verse. Easier said than done, am I right? Why is it so bloody hard to live out the love we proclaim for others? I personally am really great at saying how much I love my friends, or my family members, but how often do I actually take the time to do this love for them?
And what exactly does DOING love for someone other than yourself look like? Is it the same for everyone? I’d like to think not. We are all uniquely created, and uniquely made to be able to give and receive unique glimpses at how we relate to one another in love.
I remember a couple of years ago when I was in a bible study with some college girls, the idea got brought up about being more intentional with the things we say we are going to do for others. It really struck a chord with me. Not only should we say, “Yes, girl, I’ll pray for you about that.” But we should REALLY DO IT! Offering up thoughts without any sort of action behind them, really don’t account for much do they? I can think about how my room is messy and it needs to be cleaned all day long, but until I put some sort of *at least* a plan in place, that room is just going to stay messy forever.
I kind of feel this is how it is with the people we care most about in our lives. We can say all day long “I want to love you better, I want to understand you, I want to be the man or the woman you want me to be.” However, until we actually start to put into PRACTICE some of these desires, they never really amount to much do they? Words upon words, upon time, added up really amount to a lot of heart ache when not lived out because the person on the receiving end of that grand thought may never really know the thought that dwells in your spirit until there is something to truly behold.
All the while, these grand thoughts and gestures are never making their way into the thought process of the person needing to receive the love you so desperately want to give. All that person is seeing, is a blank slate. Or maybe they see someone who just doesn’t care. Or maybe they see the antithesis of love because it is not being expressed. I always tell my kiddos that I work with that they can’t expect anyone else in their house to know what they need or want until at some point they express that. Same in reverse with the caregivers, “you can’t expect your kid to follow through with that expectation until you actually SHARE that expectation with them.” It’s like a little light bulb goes off instantaneously when this happens. It’s something they both know and understand, but have to be gently reminded of over and over.
Jesus gives us a perfect example of how to love in DEED and TRUTH by way of the sacrifice he made on the cross. It’s a beautiful picture really. He had the truth, had the knowledge of what needed to be done in order to fulfill the law, however if he chose to stay down off that cross we wouldn’t really know the fullness of His love for us. In this same way too, we must be the ones to live out the deed that comes with the truth of what we know in our hearts and minds.
I think Bob Goff might’ve said it best in his book, “Love Does” –
That’s because love is never stationary. In the end, love doesn’t just keep thinking about it, or keep planning for it. Simply put: love does.
So if you were to take all of your well intentioned love for others, and manifest it into an act, what would that look like? Would it look like cleaning the whole house for your wife because she’s too tired to do so? Would it look like writing that love letter you’ve been meaning to write for months? Would it look like staying after work to have that meaningful conversation with a co-worker? Would it look like saying something encouraging to your roommate just because? or Maybe it would look like making an awesome present for a friend even though you hate presents, but you know they love them. Whatever it is- get out there and DO LOVE!