Have you ever heard of the 5 love languages? It’s from a book by Gary Chapman, a marriage counselor who has taught this principle for years.
That book has helped us through the years in understanding how to connect with people according to how they typically respond. Not everyone responds the same way to expressions of care and love. You may wonder why doesn’t my wife appreciate it when I buy her jewelry? It may be because she doesn’t really care about getting a gift as much as she wants the trash taken out without having to ask. We’re all very different concerning what matters to us most. And God knew that when He sent the message of love to us!
Some people really appreciate getting a gift that has been carefully considered with the individual in mind. Wouldn’t you agree that a gift card seems much colder than something that is personal and means something special to the recipient? A personal gift that matches the individual can evoke special memories and fondness for years to come. It conveys a message of its own that only the recipient can understand and appreciate. Each time the person looks at that gift there is a feeling of connection with the giver that may not have been there before. However, not everyone likes to receive gifts. Oh, they’ll take it, but it may not be the quickest way to their heart. Some people may just plop it in a drawer or throw it in the closet and forget about it altogether. Does that mean the recipient is unappreciative? Not necessarily. It’s just that there is another language they respond to better.
When God sent His son to the earth, He knew that not everyone would appreciate a gift as much as something else, such as a deed on their behalf. Nonetheless, God knew some people greatly appreciate the gift of eternal life that He offers. Why do you suppose that some people seem to be more grateful for their salvation than others do? Perhaps it’s because the gift is something they will always cherish more than anything else God has done or said. It’s their love language and it says much to them.
He also gave us the Holy Spirit so that we wouldn’t be alone or without help. God didn’t go pick out something nice to give us…He gave us everything He had! That is the unmistakable sign of selfless love. Have you ever given everything you own because you loved that much? The gift of the Holy Spirit constantly reminds us that God is thinking of us all the time. No matter what we’re going through, we will always have everything we need when we’re convinced that the Son and the Spirit live in us.
I don’t believe there is any way two people can actually fall in love with each other without spending quality time together. I know some believe in love at first sight when it is probably more like a strong attraction that develops into love over time. Spending time with someone tells that person that they are the most important person in your life, and there is nowhere you’d rather be than right there with them. And that may be the most important aspect of their relationship as far as they are concerned. Getting to know someone speaks the message I really want to know you better because you are unique. As busy as people can be, spending quality time without rushing it can be one of the most effective ways to communicate love. Even as we get older, quality time is still very important because that person knows they still hold your attention. However, some people may feel that they just don’t need it. They may already know they’re in love and they don’t need someone wasting the day away when there is so much to be done! I agree that everyone needs at least some quality time once in a while. It’s just that maybe it’s not the most important thing on the agenda. Maybe they feel that quality time is sufficient enough to answer any lingering questions about loyalty, focus, dedication, etc.
The Father is ready and willing to spend quality time with us. It’s just that He won’t force Himself upon us if we don’t want it. He already knows us better than we know ourselves, but He is still interested in spending time with us! He gave us prayer as a medium in addition to His Word to better understand Him. Some people may find it difficult to pray for any length of time, and they may wonder how can I better understand Him if I only hear my voice? But He does speak to us in prayer if we will only listen. You may need to wait longer than you did the last time you prayed and maybe more often. He is certainly letting us know Him better.
Some people respond better to a word that builds them up and encourages them. Their heart is enlarged toward the person who encouraged them because it’s the thing needed most in their lives. That person may struggle with self-doubts and insecurities, but a word of affirmation lets them know they have something to offer and they are important. And that communicates love and acceptance like no other language can to them. However, others may feel it’s a waste of time because they just don’t need it. That person may be self-assured to the point where they may think they can’t trust someone who’s giving words of affirmation, as if they can’t be trusted or have an agenda.
The Bible is full of words of affirmation for us. Those words need to be personalized so that we’ll believe them. Saying them aloud tends to reassure us that God is saying it to us. He told us we can do all things through him. He affirmed as His true children. He said that we’ve been made holy although we’ve sinned. And there are many more. God loves us and He communicates that love through words of affirmation and encouragement. For many people this is a lifeline to a peaceful life. And perhaps to others, there are more effective ways to communicate His love.
While some people may not respond to a gift all that much, they certainly may absolutely notice when someone continually does things for them, such as take over a chore, run an errand for them, take them to their favorite place, and generally make their life much more pleasant through everyday tasks. Although words may be spared, the message comes through to the recipient that they are very important. All of us continually have something to do, but when we take time out to do something for that person it speaks more loudly than any other gift…to a person who responds to acts of service (devotion). However, there are many who would just rather do things themselves and consider acts of service as wasted time when they could multiply effectiveness of a couple by doing things on their own list.
Jesus demonstrated numerous times acts of service to His disciples and the rest of the people. He even declared that you become great when you become the least among all by serving others. He tirelessly laid hands on the sick, spoke words of comfort, and showed His devotion to His followers. There are numerous examples in the Word of how God demonstrated His devotion and patience to His people. What a powerful message He conveyed by constantly showing His compassion while He was the one who deserved to be served! He still shows His love for us by showing acts of service in our everyday lives.
There are those who respond most to the physical touch. This kinetic connection may be the only medium these people can really appreciate and understand. If it’s missing for this type of person, they may feel a great lack of emotional healing and fulfillment. If words aren’t backed up with a physical touch, they could find them hard to believe and accept. Perhaps that touch was missing during their upbringing, and now it’s of great importance to them. Life without that touch for them feels like something is desperately missing and they may go on a search for it. However, for others it could make them feel uncomfortable or that it’s unnecessary (or maybe an obligation!). For the rest of the crowd, it could be considered more of a duty than a need.
Children found it so easy to get up in Jesus’ lap because they knew He actually enjoyed touching them. Apparently the disciples thought it was unnecessary and a waste of time. Jesus wasn’t just going to speak words of healing; He showed His sincerity by placing His hands on them. People believed Him more fully when they saw how He physically touched them. Although we cannot see Him walk among us to lay hands on us, we are instructed to do just that for each other to demonstrate that same powerful, physical touch. And He still shows us how much He loves us by touching our weakened, diseased bodies, our stressed minds, and our troubled spirit.
What an amazing God we serve! He chose to utilize all 5 love languages to convey His love for us so that none of us would feel left out. And He is still actively pursuing us using these languages to make sure we get the message I LOVE YOU!