If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any language you don’t currently speak, which would it be? Why? What’s the first thing you do with your new linguistic skills?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us TONGUE.
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 — NASB ~
If I could wake up tomorrow with the ability to speak any language that I am not currently able to speak, I would want to speak in the one universal language that is understood by every human being — the language of love. Although each of us is born with the capacity to understand this language, sadly, we aren’t born with the ability to speak it. Indeed, very few people ever truly learn the language, and though we were born with the ability to understand love, by the time we reach adulthood, most people have a distorted view of what love is.
Before one can truly speak the language of love, he/she needs to understand exactly what love is. To gain an understanding of what love is, we first need to wipe the slate of our minds clean from the lies we’ve been led to believe from the time we were children. You see, love has nothing to do with the gifts people bestow upon you, although many have come to equate love with that. If love was about the presents given to us at Christmas, then those who are too poor to afford gifts would be unable to love, and that certainly isn’t true, now, is it?
Love also has nothing to do with sex, although many people have given their bodies to others in the name of love. Now, I’m not saying that sex is evil, or that no one having sex loves his/her partner. What I am saying is that many people have sex without loving the person they are with. Those who pay for prostitutes feel no love for the person they are paying to have sex with them, and likewise, the prostitute feels no love for the person he/she is charging to have sex with him/her.
Also, there are people who move from one lover to another, over and over again. This is not love. Love is not a temporary or fleeting emotion, regardless of what you may have experienced or seen on television, or in your life, or the lives of others. This is what true love is…
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 — NASB ~
Love is patient. That means no matter how many times the person I love irritates me, I will still love that person. What’s more, because I love this person, I will learn to control my temper. Because I love someone, I will forgive him/her when they wrong me, calmly enduring any pain he/she may cause me. Because I love this person, I will strive to be understand him/her, and why he/she acts out in certain ways. This is an example of true love, but there is more…
Love is kind and is not jealous. For every man or woman who has ever had a jealous boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse, read those words again. Love is kind and is not jealous. If there is someone in your life who is jealous of other people who love you, understand this… jealousy is not love. And for those reading this post who are jealous of your significant other’s loved ones, I’ll say it again, jealousy is not love. Jealousy is not a proof of your love for someone, or their love for you. Jealousy is evil. Jealousy destroys relationships. Jealousy destroys people. Jealousy can kill.
Love is kind. To love someone is to be tenderhearted toward him/her. To love someone is to put that person before yourself. To love someone is to treat them the way you would like to be treated. Love is kind.
Love does not brag and is not arrogant. Are you getting this? If someone claims to love you, and then puts you down, he/she does not love you. If someone says that he/she loves you, and treats you as anything less than his/her equal, then this person does not love you. If this person brags about him/herself, and thinks more of him/herself than he/she thinks of you, this is not love.
Love does not act unbecomingly. Love is not boastful or proud or rude. If someone treats you disrespectfully, this is not love. This bears repeating, because sadly, many people are confused about this. When someone treats you with disrespect, or as though you are less than him/her, no matter what they may claim, they are not acting in love.
Love does not seek its own. Love does not seek its own way. When you love someone, do you have to have your own way? Are you willing to let the person you say you love have his/her own way? Or do you demand your own way? If you always demand your own way or the highway, then you do not love. If the person you are with always demands his/her own way, the he/she is not loving.
Love is not provoked. Is the person who claims to love you easily angered? Do you walk around on pins and needles because you fear angering this person? Are you easily angered by the ones you say you love? Do others tread carefully when they are around you, fearful of your anger? If so, my friend, this is not how love acts. Remember, love is patient and kind.
Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. Do you remember every wrong done to you by the person you say you love? When you and this person have a disagreement, do you throw other wrongdoings in their face, even though you say you’ve forgiven them? Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. True love forgives completely, and though it is very hard to forget, we must choose not to remember, if we truly love someone.
Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. Now this is really difficult, because our human nature likes to see others get what’s coming to them. It’s very natural for us to want to see someone get the punishment they deserve, and yet, if we want to walk in love and if we want to speak the language of love, then we can’t rejoice in another person’s suffering, not even if they deserve it. We can and should rejoice when the truth comes out, this is good and right. But there’s a fine line between rejoicing in the truth and rejoicing in someone’s suffering. If someone commits a crime against you or someone you love, and that person is brought to trial and found guilty by the jury, rejoice because the truth came out, and this is good. BUT we must not rejoice because the person will now have to suffer for his/her crime. To truly love and speak the language of love is indeed difficult, which is why so many choose not to love, but the rewards of truly loving far outweigh the cost.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. To truly walk in love, means that we must bear all things… No matter how difficult it is to love someone, no matter how mean or contrary the person may be, if I want to speak the language of love, I must be willing to bear their abuse, believing and hoping that all things will work together for my good, because I love God and He has called me according to His purpose, and therefore, come what may, I will endure all things. The best example of true love that I can think of is the example Jesus gave us.
1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from His love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, 8 He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. 9 Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:1-11 — NLT ~
Every word Jesus spoke, every breath He took, every glance He gave, was done in love. He alone, was able to speak the language of love fluently, without a flaw. In fact, it is only in His name that anyone is able to truly speak this language, which has very little to do with the words we speak, and everything to do with our actions.
You ask me what language I would speak, and my answer is the ancient language of love. “Why?” you ask, and my answer is, “Because God first loved me, so I want to love Him and others, with that same love.” What is the first thing I would do with my new linguistic skills? I would seek the bitterest, most unlovable, hopeless person, and I would begin to demonstrate the love that Jesus gave me… the love that I described above.
Lord, hear my prayer and let me love others as You love them, with the love that You have given me. Let me speak to them with the tongues of love. Let me demonstrate that love to them by being patient and kind to them. Help me not to be jealous or boastful or arrogant. And help me not to be rude or disrespectful to them. Father, help me not to seek my own way, rather, help me to submit to others. And Lord, help me not to be easily provoked or to take into account the wrongs others may do to me. And Father, please help me not to rejoice in unrighteousness, but instead, teach me to rejoice with the truth. Strengthen me and help me to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things, just as Jesus did when He suffered and died on the cross for my sins. Lord, let my love for others never fail, just as Your love never fails, never gives up and never runs out on me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Cheryl A. Showers