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Archive for January, 2009

Jesus and the Love Languages

Following on from my previous post have you considered how Jesus showed Love to people while he was walking through the holy land?  I would like to propose that he showed love using a different language as the situation required it.

Touch – In the eighth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel it records the story of Jesus healing a leper. When God gave Moses the law it was established that those who had any form of leprosy were unclean.  By Jesus’ time this had developed into a culture that outcast the leper.  No one would touch a leper and thus make themselves unclean.  Jesus on the other hand saw the leper and touched him.

Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (Matthew 8:3 NASB)

It was highly likely that the leper’s primary love language was touch, if it wasn’t then it was definitely deprived from him.  If this was the case then the simple act of Jesus touching him would have been enough to not only heal his leprosy but also to heal his spirit by showing him love in the way that meant the most to him.

Acts of Service – Ever considered what Jesus was doing when he washed the disciples feet in John chapter thirteen?  He wasn’t just demonstrating that we are required to be servants but also he was demonstrating love.  To whom?  No doubt with such esteemed guests coming for the Passover feast the host and servants were busy with the preparations and serving that comes when such a gathering happens.  Jesus, here, not only took the time to humble himself and wash the feet of his disciples but in so doing demonstrated his love to the host and servants by doing a job that had been overlooked in the business of the day.

Quality Time – The story of Nicodemus is the one that comes to mind here.  Jesus took the time in the middle of the night to meet one on one with Nicodemus and answer his questions without the crowd pressing around.  This is quality time, in so doing Jesus demonstrated his love for Nicodemus.  There are many other times when Jesus went away with some or all of disciples, the crossing of the lake, the fish on the shore after his resurrection, these are all examples of quality time that Jesus spent with people and in so doing demonstrated his love for them.

Words of Affirmation – Luke 19 records the story of Zaccheus.

When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house."  And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly.   When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner."  Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, "Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much."  And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:5-10 NASB)

Not only did Jesus here offer some quality time to Zaccheus but he spoke words of affirmation to him in verse 9 Jesus says “he, too, is a son of Abraham.”  To us today this seems obvious, but Zaccheus as a tax collector for the Roman lords was despised and outcast by his people.  This single act by Jesus saved Zaccheus, and probably as result many others whose stories are not recorded for us.

Gifts – Wine for the wedding?  The life of Jarius’ daughter? Are these not gifts that Jesus gave?  These expressions of love through the act of giving gifts demonstrated Jesus cared not only about the people but also their needs.  These gifts of love however seem shallow when perhaps the greatest gift, and expression of his love for us, was giving his life up for us on the cross.

As we have seen both Jesus, and therefore God, have the ability to show love to us in whatever language we need when we most need it.  But he is also capable of receiving love from us, in what ever way we feel most comfortable to give it to him.  It doesn’t have to be difficult for us to show our love to God.  We suffer from a love language barrier when we try to show love to people, God, however, does not have this barrier and is free to give and receive love in whatever way we can.

It makes sense, after all “God is Love” (1Jn 4:8). This raises another topic for thought.  If God is Love, then perhaps, each of the five love languages, and his expressions of them, show us a different aspect of his character and we being made in his likeness should therefore strive to be fluent in all of these love languages so that we can reveal his love to the world.

Categories: Bible

Love languages

4 January 2009 2 comments

Ever heard of the ? I have, but I was reminded the other day that in building a relationship with my fiancée that I had lost sight of the fact that our love languages are different and I shouldn’t be expecting her to automatically show me love in my language when her love language was different.  If you are not feeling loved then I suggest you do a bit of research on the topic as realising that other people may be attempting to say “I love you” but in a language you aren’t recognising.   What follows is my take on the love languages.

Love languages should be considered a tool to help you understand yourself and those around you that you care about.  The five love languages are:

Words of affirmation – With words of affirmation you feel most loved when someone tells you how much they appreciate you and the special way you do ordinary tasks.  You most often show love by sharing words of affirmation and encouragement to people.

Quality Time – With quality time you feel closest to another person when they give you receive their undivided focused attention.  You are most likely to attempt to show love by giving them their undivided attention.

Gifts – With receiving of gifts you feel most loved when you receive gifts. When you show love you are most likely to give them a gift.

Acts of Service – If your love language is acts of service then you probably feel the most loved when some one volunteers to do some of your ordinary daily work.  You will probably freely offer your services to people and do stuff for them to show them how much you love them.

Physical Touch – If you find you are a touchy feely sort of person, then you probably have a love language of touch.  This means that you feel the most loved when you are being embraced by someone.

Food?  I have heard it said that food could be a sixth love language.  However, this is most likely a special variation on Acts of Service, Gifts or Quality Time depending on the exact nature of how the food was presented. For example, going to someone’s house and cooking a meal for them could be considered an act of service, while giving someone a hamper of food could be considered a gift.  If you however invite someone over for dinner and share a meal together, without the TV on, then this could be quality time.

It is possible for someone to have more than one love language, indeed it is most people have a primary and a secondary love language.  You can do some simple tests (just Google love languages and you will find a few) that give you and indication of what your love languages are.  For me the love languages of Physical Touch and Acts of Service are my joint primary languages and I dislike receiving gifts.

It is even possible for someone to change their love language over time.  This could be for a couple of reasons, because previous attempts at showing love were rejected or because one way of expressing love is being meet in abundance.  For me I used to enjoy giving and receiving gifts (though it has never been strong) I don’t any more.  This could be that my early attempts at giving gifts were ridiculed or it could be that it is current the Christmas season and most of the gifts I receive haven’t been well thought through.   For me I sometimes feel most loved when there is an unexpected word of affirmation given to me.  If I’m receiving these words all of the time then they start to loose their meaning for me and I look for one of the other ways of receiving love.

Having understood these languages I have been able to change my expectations.  Why, I asked myself, should someone whose love language is not acts of service, be able to spot what I need when they aren’t used to showing love that way and I haven’t communicated it to them?  Are they in fact trying to show me love in a way that I aren’t expecting?  In the case with my fiancée this was definitely the case.  Her love languages happen to be words of affirmation and quality time.  Two languages I aren’t fluent in but have been forced to learn in order to show her how much I love her.  Thankfully snuggling down on a couch in conversation covers both my need for touch and her need for quality time.

If you are feeling unloved then have a look you might discover something about yourself and those you care about that you didn’t know before.

Categories: Life