I Love You
by Bob Bekins
We all remember real moments and movie moments when the leading actor can’t say it. That scene is usually followed quickly by this line, “I don’t have to say it because you know what I do for you.” There is great truth in that statement if the actor is actually behaving in a loving way; if there are loving acts toward the co-star. In John 13:35 Jesus says “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” He did not say they will know you by the way you say, “I love you.” By love he meant what we do for the beloved. In John 15:13 He says, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.“
We are surrounded at our worst times by people who knowingly risk that ultimate sacrifice. The firefighter who runs into the burning building, the relief worker who arrives in the chaos after the tornado, the policewoman breaking up a domestic dispute, or the doctor treating the contagious in the refugee camp. They all exemplify this love.
I have an electric toothbrush. When I was first trying to get used to it, I found myself using it like a regular toothbrush but electrified in motion. After a while, I realized that I had to use it differently. To say I love you without the action behind it is like owning an electric toothbrush with no charge to it. Knowing how someone needs to be loved electrifies the action. Whether it be verbal encouragement, a hand written card, a present, a chore done on someone’s behalf, or a hug, just knowing what floats a person’s boat is the beginning of true loving action. Then you have to do it.
Saying “I will wash your car” is not the same as washing it. Intending to pick up a child from school on time is not the same as getting there when you said you would. A letter with a hand-drawn, goofy cartoon is better than a Hallmark card with someone else’s art work and printed expressions. Showing up with a hot replacement dinner for a family with a mom in hospital is great compared to giving them a gift certificate. Picking up the neighbors’ mail and watering their garden while they are on a vacation is better than, “keeping an eye on the place.” You see what I mean?
You don’t have to risk or give your life for someone. You just have to be aware of what is going on in the lives of others. You will know what to do. In the other book of John, 1st John 3:16 through 18, he says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus laid down his life for us. We ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with word or tongue but with action and in truth.”