She was reaching those early teen years when it felt a little awkward to express her heart to her grandparents. But there was the night that she was rooting around the kitchen cabinet looking for a mug to hold her coffee.
There were 40 or so to choose from and the one at the front was the most convenient, but she kept clattering through the various cups until she found the exact one that she wanted.
She poured her coffee and then ambled over my way to make sure that I could see her choice. It was imprinted with the words, “I love you grandpa.” I choked up – and truly felt loved.
I need to hear and experience more of that kind of lovin’. I bet you do too!
Florida International University psychologist Lisa Arango says. “It’s the oxygen for the relationship. Telling somebody you love them feeds the relationship, keeps it alive.”
This kind of oxygen is sorely needed in this world of suffocation. Ours is a culture that vilifies a person if they are not of the appropriate race or holds to a differing political view. The teen driver that flips us the finger doesn’t help.
School can take your breath away too. One kid started the fall term brimming with excitement. 2 months later his teacher had him convinced he was just another bad kid. Then there was the teacher who told a child her class would be easier to teach once he was gone. Another kid was assaulted at school because the bully didn’t like the color of her hair.
OK – but what about family? That’s where we feel the love – right? Not always! I am shocked at the epidemic number of Christian families that I personally know who are experiencing civil war – with members refusing to speak to each other, icing each other out of their lives.
We need to hear and breathe the words “I love you!”
My wife and I led a small group of newlyweds. I polled them as part of my research for a magazine article I was writing. I asked, “What do you wish your parents would have said to you – but didn’t.”
Well over 90% had never heard one or both parents articulate the words, “I love you.” To be fair, most felt loved by their parents, and yet they were sorrowful that they never heard the words.
OK but the One that matters most isn’t so bashful about saying it. The Lord said to His people through the prophet Isaiah, “…you are precious and special in my sight and I love you.” – Isaiah 43:4: NET Bible ®
Words of affection! Note the present tense of the verb “love.” This is not a love, long ago expressed or demonstrated. It is an active, continual verbalized expression of God’s love for we His people.
The apostle John instructed us to love others as God has loved us (1 John 4:11) which means we need to communicate it as He did.
Solomon wrote, “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24: NET Bible ®
Life can be like a cup of bitter coffee. Put some honey in the lives of those you love by verbalizing the words “I love you.”
Could your marriage use a little sweetening? Say the words to your love at the altar and do it every day after. Use them especially before and after your debates.
Speak them to your kids – when you drop them off at school, when you put them to bed and before and after you discipline them. Be random with it too, so that they know your words are not driven by a mindless habit.
Your aging parents feel forgotten. Call them and tell them of your love. And don’t be shy about telling your siblings and friends that you care for them.
Communicate your heart to the people you love. Use a coffee mug if you wish!
A PRAYER: Lord I say these words a lot. Remind me to say them more.
This has been Jim Johnson with pickleheavenpress.com
May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.