Do Love

There is a man by the name of Gary Chapman who wrote a book call “The Five Love Languages”.

 

http://www.fivelovelanguages.com/

 

Gary’s book is about human relationships. Mostly man and wife, but it speaks volumes about the way that people in general can relate to each other. I’m going to only sketch from the book because I want you to take the time to read it.

 

The basic concepts in the book are that when we deal with the people in our lives we need to keep in mind that we all have different things that make us feel Loved and cared for.  Dr. Chapman refers to them as Love languages.

 

The different Love languages he refers to are:

·       Words of Praise

·       Act of Service

·       Quality Time

·       Receiving Gifts

·       Physical Touch

 

The book is basically about marriage enrichment, so what it speaks to is finding each other’s primary Love language and making sure we speak it for each other. But it can apply to all of the relationships in our lives: our children, our parents, even our work mates or our customers.

 

As we go through life each of us will have one or two of these languages that, when we receive them, will make us feel Loved. Gary refers to it as having a full “Love tank”. If your Love tank is full then chances are that you are happy or at the very least experiencing a more healthy relationship with the one you Love.

 

Yeah, yeah… We’ll read the book. But what does that have to with Jesus Christ or our faith. Well it turns out that it has plenty to do with explaining how we as Christians should go through life.

 

Am I saying that I have to bend over backwards to please everyone; to fill their Love tank? Yes, in a way I am. But it turns out so was Jesus Christ, Apostle Paul, and most of the Prophets of God.

 

As I read Chapman’s book I was put in mind of Paul in Corinth who said that if we want to win the heart of those around us we need to first pay attention to the heart we want to win.

 

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

 19Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

 

So many people listen to what Paul is saying and they hear him saying that we need to be milk toast, two faced, pushovers.  But let’s frame it as Dr. Chapman and the Apostle have framed it for us.

 

If we approach this world as if everyone is an individual and discover the things that make them feel noticed and Loved, then we will win more of them to our way of living.

 

Think of it this way… If you feel that I do not care about you then how much less would you listen? Better yet, if I walked in this room and you felt I did not understand your situation then how much of my advice would you take?

 

So Paul is not telling us to be two faced weasels tricking people into following God. That will not last. Once people find out what you really are then they will doubt everything you have said.

 

Paul is not even saying to be weak for the sake of your fellow man. He starts out by saying, not that he has to do this, but that he is free to do as he pleases.

 

“19a Though I am free and belong to no man”

 

That is an important point. If someone is being forced to do you a favor or if they are doing it out of obligation how much Love to we feel from the gift? If God had to give you something would you still call that grace. No. Grace is the undeserved gift given to us. In fact the less we deserve something we are given more blessed we feel when we get it.

 

Ladies… If your husband really messed up then sends you flowers does that fill your Love tank more, or is it filled more when flowers come at some unexpected time with a sweet note about you.  When it is because he is in the dog house it can feel like I Love you, but it also feels a little like “I’m sorry, can I get something”.  When it feels like he just had you on his mind that says I Love you.

 

This isn’t just about the Loving relationship between husband and wife. It can apply to the entire world of relationships.

Parents, if you have more than one child you know I’m right.  We have two children and they just simply did not respond to the same things.

 

With our daughter, the moment you threatened to take something away she would begin figuring out ways to make you happy and to get back in your good graces. Brittney wasn’t necessarily responding to great parenting or well thought out punishment, she just hates conflict. She will conform in your presence, but if you insist of forcing something on her she will tolerate it only as long as it takes for her to find her own way.

 

We learned that Brittney responded more to words of praise. If you encouraged her and showed her genuine care she would walk 500 miles for you.

 

Our son Ben on the other hand, you could take every toy he had, spank his behind, and yell till your lungs hurt…. He was going to do what he wanted. Ben wasn’t impressed with all of that stuff. He had determined what the best course of action was and he was willing to endure any amount of conflict to get it. As far as he was concerned the conflict would soon be over and he would have it the way he believed it should be.

 

We have since learned that Ben responds better to you spending quality time with him to establish that you respect his position and then he will listen to you.  With Ben, you must put in the time. But if you do and he determines that your way is right then he will defend it to the death.

 

People are different and if you determine that you will force something down there throat then you will either lose them from the start or they will tolerate you long enough to get around you.

 

We may bring people to our RELIGION through force, but we will never maintain them in our FAITH.

 

If faith could be gained by force then God would have done that a long time ago. Instead what God’s answer has been is to stoop down to us over and over again.

 

Jesus speaks to the Samaritan woman by showing her that He knows her deeply and he understands her real issues. When He had all the power to simply dismiss her as a harlot and a member of a lost people he instead gave her quality time and showed her Love.

 

Jesus sits with Nicodemus and talks through the theological nuances of being born again to achieve salvation. Nicodemus again and again gives dense responses. Jesus could have simply told him that was an ignorant jerk. But Jesus spent the time and found a way to explain in Nicodemus’ terms. Later, Nicodemus was one of the rich men who helped to be sure they my Lord was given a proper burial.

 

We need to learn from these examples and understand that we must bend to others. We simple must learn their Love language and address them in that language.

 

·       To the Jew we must become like the Jew.

·       To those who respond to personal time we must learn to give personal time.

·       To those who Love knowledge we must provide knowledge.

·       To those who respond to encouragement I must encourage.

·       To those who respond to my actions I must take action.

 

But what do we do for the unlovable? Those who never return our Love?

As part of the book Dr. Chapman speaks to couples that are having trouble and very often have reached the end of their rope with each other. One of the ladies who comes tells a story that seems horrible.

 

Her opening question is, “Dr. Chapman, is it possible to love someone whom you hate?”

 

Wow, that must have been a tough spot to start from in a marriage counseling session. Obviously her husband was not there with her.

 

Dr. Chapman asks her if she would be willing to do an experiment with him. He starts by reading some advice from Jesus.

 

Luke 6: 27-28; 31-36;38

 27″But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

 

31Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32″If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

 

38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

 

(I have added here, but to help complete our full point)

 

The woman in our case is a woman of strong faith. This is important. We must approach this from the stance that we are behaving this way for the sake of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he has made for us.

 

There must be sacrifice to make things better. As Jesus says, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.”

 

No, there is no great challenge in Loving someone when they are filling your Love tank.  It is possible to Love them and have them completely miss that you Love them if we don’t speak their language. But it is not difficult for us to try and Love them.

 

In this case her husband is not physically abusing her, but he is not addressing her needs ever and he is psychologically abusive. He sees no need for counseling because he says he doesn’t have a problem.

 

Dr. Chapman then asks her to take six months and fill her Husband’s Love tank. She is to meet every need she can and to ask him how she is doing from time to time.

 

But she says, “isn’t that being hypocritical?”

 

Not really, he says, if we think of Love as an action we take for someone and not an emotional feeling. Jesus puts it this way, “31Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

 

Do – Not feel.  At the root of meeting the Love needs of others is the idea that we must “Do” for each other what means Love to the one we are Loving. It isn’t about what we enjoy doing, except that if we Love them we will eventually Love doing it.

How much do you believe Jesus Loved being drug through the streets of Jerusalem?

How much did He Love being spit on?

How much did He Love being beaten?

How much did He Love being nailed to a cross till He died?

 

For us… He Loved it, because He Loved us.

 

When properly done, our Love for others should not be tied to an emotional desire for them, but instead should be out of Love for them and a desire to help them with or without us.  Our commitment is to Love them as God Loved us. If removing us from them would help them, then that is what we must do.

 

Our lady friend’s husband now calls Dr. Chapman a miracle worker. She found her Love returned by giving her husband the things he needed to fill his Love tank “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, AND poured into HIS lap”.  (paraphrased by me)

 

She found that by talking to this Love stuffed man and making single suggestions over time of things she needed to feel Loved, that soon she was feeling Loved. “A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, AND poured into HER lap”.  (paraphrased by me)

 

Jesus doesn’t tell us to do something for nothing. Jesus doesn’t tell us to do something starting with nothing. He tells us to start with His Love and sometimes ONLY THAT. But he promises that if we will do that we will be rewarded.

 

Luke 6: 38

38Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

 

I want to ask you to pray with me. Start by taking a minute and thinking of the one person in your life you cannot tolerate; the one that you cringe thinking of spending time with or encountering.

 

Lord,

Help me to find you in my enemy.

Help me to see that by returning the abuse they give I only doom both of us to more hurt.

Help me to have your grace and to find that thing that will soften their heart.

Give me the strength to Love them as you have Loved me.

Help me to know that your reward is my only need.

Amen

 

 

 

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About toddcbrown

The body of Christ will never grow if the Pastor is the one using his gifts to MAKE IT grow through some cool program or inspiring turn of a phrase.
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