Love is

Lauren and her "Love is" mobile

Lauren and her “Love is” mobile

We had an amazing Valentine’s week planned for our family. To help us better understand God’s love, we were going to focus on one phrase of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 for seven days, correlate a person in Scripture who displayed that kind of love, do fun Valentine’s activities and give the kids a special Valentine’s gift each day. Everything was wrapped and ready to roll for Monday.

Then I had surgery to extract my wisdom teeth.

The kids stand in front of our Love Is wall hanging after Day 2, with bookmarks they made out of paint strip samples.

The kids stand in front of our Love Is wall hanging after Day 2, with bookmarks they made out of paint strip samples.

Sheer adrenaline and pain meds got me through the first day of “Love is”. We learned that love is patient and kind, and thought about how Joseph, son of Jacob, showed that kind of love to his family, and how God displays that love for us. We made Love Is Mobiles, which are proudly hanging on both the kids’ doors.

That’s as far as I was able to go in our family experience. Tuesday, my recovery turned for the worse, and Matt helped us learn that love is not jealous, boastful, proud or rude. John the Baptist exemplified that kind of love, and we studied about how John loved Jesus that way. The kids each got a Valentine’s book, and though they begged me to read to them, my face was so swollen and pain levels so high, I just couldn’t.

We skipped every other day of our Bible study.

To say I was disappointed is putting it mildly. I’ve literally spent the entire week sleeping on the couch or in bed, trying to get through the terrible pain and onset of vertigo.

Finally yesterday, after my oral surgeon treated me for a dry socket, God gave me some clarity through the pain. I sat in the car surrounded by my dear family, who had driven me two hours to my appointment, and realized we had each learned so much about love this week even though we didn’t finish our “Love is” study.

Love is patient and kind. Love picks up the slack for others. Love stays quiet so another can sleep. Love helps do the dishes and pick up toys. Love understands when another says no. Love is willing to wait until someone feels better (which is very difficult for kids who love to snuggle!). Love puts life on pause to make sure someone else is OK. Love sacrifices time and energy. Love gets through interrupted plans. Love takes the kids so the other can rest. Love turns down the volume on the TV. Love is there, no matter what.

The kids opened all the rest of their little love presents today, and are currently having a great time throwing new frisbees and blowing bubbles outside with my husband, while I continue to rest on the couch.

But as I watch them through the window, I see what love is.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Am I really speaking the truth in love?

 

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ

– Ephesians 4:15

Most of the time when we think we are “speaking the truth in love,” we really aren’t.

We use the rationalization that a person needs to hear this hard, painful truth and it would be unloving to not tell them. Or, out of love for someone else, we have a duty to share a truth with this person. Maybe it is a “they need to understand what they are doing is wrong, and it’s my obligation to make sure they do.” And, sometimes it means “I love them, and I am sharing truth with them, so that’s speaking the truth in love.”

It is hard to share truth, especially when the truth that we are supposed to be speaking in love may not be welcomed or wanted.

If we are honest, we often mess it up.

In this verse, truth can’t be separated from love. It’s like a strawberry (truth) dipped in (love) chocolate. They belong together.

How do we speak love?
Truth needs to be bathed in love, soaked and surrounded by it. And, according to God’s revelation:

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

– 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

Is the truth we are speaking full of patience and kindness? Or is it just about us and what we want, without genuine consideration of others, because that’s not love. Is it rude or based on my reaction or resentment? Does the truth offer hope and a commitment to be there and bear each other up? Is the truth an ultimatum or does it communicate love that endures all things, through Christ who gives us strength?

Is love spoken as strongly as the truth? Not just in word but in action?

How do we speak truth?
Just as much as we struggle to love, we mix up truth.

We assume truth. We make our perception truth. We accept other’s opinions as truth.

So, when we go to speak the truth in love, is it really truth? Instead of going to a person to understand, empathize and share God’s message, we go to convict, criticize and lecture from our point of view.

Pilate had the same issue. He was faced with deciding the truth and speaking out accordingly.

Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him.

– John 18:37, 38

Truth comes from God. When we share the truth, we are sharing the heart and purpose of Jesus. Truth in love is wrapped up in Jesus.

So, when we speak the truth in love, are we sharing Jesus with another? Or, are we doing it to wash our hands of a situation?

Jesus deeply desires us to speak the truth in love. When we do, Ephesians 4:15 says we grow up in Him.

So, let’s grow up. Let’s listen to and obey the Holy Spirit. Let’s filter our tongues through 1 Corinthians 13.

Let’s share Jesus as we speak His truth in the redemption of His love.

(Note: This post is for me. I have too often failed to speak truth in love. Words are so important to me, and God has brought my attention to how and what I speak to those He’s entrusted to me. This is my lesson from Him today. I’m sure I will have many future opportunities to speak truth in love God’s way, probably right after this posts!)