“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love), I am nothing.”1 Corinthians 13:1-2
The words, “I love you” do not come out of my mouth easily, and I always want to make sure that I mean them before I say them. These words carry a lot of weight and should not be casually thrown around. Some use those words to manipulate others, others use them flippantly, and some claim they have “fallen out of love”. Love is a wonderful thing and should be the foundation of everything we do.
Rebekah and I started letter-writing soon after we reunited in late 1997. We were not dating at the time, but I am not sure I ever quit loving her. I began to love her in the eight grade, and my love only grew and matured from there. Through letters, we were getting to know each other after several years of not talking, and I was grateful that we were communicating again. Rebekah was never much of a pen pal, so I was surprised that she was even corresponding with me. Before that, I had only received one letter from her in my life, so it seemed she was turning over a new leaf as she wrote me 1-2 times a week.
I so looked forward to receiving letters from Rebekah even though they were not romantic in nature. I longed to hear about her daily activities, and I was excited to know that she was thinking of me. I was trying not to rush into things, and I did not want to drive her away. I was happy we were friends, but with every letter, it seemed she captivated more and more of my heart. While I was feeling all this for Rebekah, I was not sure she felt the same way. I wanted to share my heart with her but I did not want to risk losing our friendship. I was torn on how to proceed, so I asked my mom for some advice.
My mom told me I had nothing to lose and that I should share my heart with Rebekah. I was nervous to tell her I loved her, but I knew I couldn’t continue pretending that I did not. I went for broke and shared my heart in a letter that I mailed out to her. I had to wait a few days for delivery and then await her response. A few weeks went by and I did not hear anything from Rebekah. I thought I had ruined my chances at both love and friendship until I received a call from her. I was nervous to speak to her but I needed to know how she felt. We spoke for a while and things were cordial, but I could not tell her reaction to my letter. I had poured out my heart to her and she basically small talked me on the phone. I was puzzled by this, but I figured it was her way of telling me that we would remain friends.
I was disappointed but not surprised by this until I received a letter from Rebekah later in the week. I expected small talk, but Rebekah opened her heart to me and shared that she loved me as well. She said she took her time as she wanted to make sure it was real and not just a passing feeling. I could have shot to the moon at the moment as I was so elated that she felt the same way I did. She told me the most beautiful words that I could have read on the page, “I love you!” I was happy with being just friends but I was more than pleased that she loved me and wanted to pursue more than a friendship.
Love should be the foundation of the things we do in life for our Lord, our family and friends, our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and in ministry opportunities. It is said that people do not care what you know until they know that you care. If we truly care about someone, then we will love them and serve them as God has commanded us to. We often like to throw around what we know and who we know, but we don’t always follow the two great commandments as Jesus described in Mark 12:30-31, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Do you love as you have been commanded? Do you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul? Do you make a big deal about what you know instead of loving as you have been commanded? What would those closest to you say about the love you show? Do you just make a lot of noise or do you make a difference? Do you love those God has placed in your life? Do you love those whom God has allowed you to serve with? May we not just make sound for the sake of making sound, but may we do all things in love as we have been commanded.