I was thinking about love languages and, well, showing love to people in general. I think at least in part love languages probably fall in with our overeager tendency to dissect and label every aspect of the human being, but this is a little different from previous posts.
The problem is, showing love is often packaged as a luxury. “This person likes gifts, so I will give him a card.” “This person likes quality time, so I will take her on a date.” They all end up being somewhat based on an event, a single crescendo of affection. These things are not trivial, but crescendos are nothing without the context of rhythm in an ongoing melody.
What is quality time without quantity time? What are cards and gifts without provision for needs? What are words of affirmation without words? What is physical affection without physical presence? What are acts of service without long term commitment?
Essentially, showing love is usually marketed like interior decorating rather than building. Curtains are not without their purpose and significance, but they’re nothing without a foundation to your house. I think this is mainly because love is treated as synonymous with gratification and romance. If loving someone means gratifying them, it will always be optional: a luxury investment in the emotional economy, so to speak. Love is not the act of gratification. Hopefully it does tug out at least a few smiles, but love is meeting needs.
Love is patient – This is not a gift that can be given in a brief moment. This is a commitment to the whole of situation, perhaps decades.
Love is kind – And not randomly. This takes active training.
Does not envy – You aren’t weighing whether you are gratified against someone else’s life, and you aren’t charging it to your loved ones’ accounts.
Is not boastful – Throw away bragging rights at love’s door. There will be no room for the poison of self-glorification here.
Does not behave unseemly – No qualifiers here. There are some actions, words, and facial expressions that must simply be swallowed and eliminated from our hearts.
Seeks not her own – This doesn’t sound like a single “event” does it? There is never a “one time I was selfless.” Love is also not about what we get out of it.
Thinks no evil – Seriously swallow those thoughts. Take every thought captive, put to death every thought that is a traitor (yes, death is one of the biggest love words).
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth – Yes, meeting needs means being the bad guy if evil is seeking to be gratified. If love were gratification, you would be a cheerleader for every pet sin that grieves the heart of God. This could well become the death of the one you love.
Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things – Who ever heard of endurance as a love language? “All things” is based on needs, struggles, challenges, pains, deaths, betrayal, not only on compliments or occasionally taking out the trash.
Love never fails. – Gratification always will. Don’t found your love on wallpaper and a nice pair of drapes. Build your house on the corner stone, walk in step with the Spirit, deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow daily.
Love never fails.