1 John 3:18 – “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” NKJV
If you have ever dealt with someone who demonstrated an obvious dislike for you, did things to hurt or hinder you, and spread rumors or half-truths about you but would publicly say, “I love you” you will understand. That is one scenario in which words do not match actions or attitudes and it is often painfully obvious.
Through the years of ministry, I have encountered marital situations where the marriage was hanging by a thread and both parties would tell the other, “I love you”. I believe they believed what they were saying was the truth to the degree they understood truth. If a husband/wife verbally declares, “I love you” but belittles the other, is unfaithful, fails to provide for the family as is needed their words are hollow. I’ve observed parents telling their children, “We love you” and then proceed to berate, belittle, badger, and torment them publicly and privately. Their actions speak so loudly the words are muted.
I have worked in ministerial alliances where some within the group would continually seek to drive wedges between various people attempting to build a coalition that elevated them. They sought prominence seeking to advance their personal objectives. Honey would almost drip from their lips as they declared in group settings their love for those they were tearing down and those who had heard the words from both sides of their mouths knew the hypocrisy with which they spoke.
LOVE is not simply verbal it is an action. If I love you, I will seek to do you harm. I will not allow envy to shadow my view or relationship with you. I will not self-promote or behave rudely. I will not be self-serving or self-seeking. I will not rejoice openly or in my heart when you experience setbacks or problems. I will be patient, kind, gentle, trusting, and willing to help. I will do that which I can to help you succeed even if it costs me. I can declare how much I love the poor but if my effort is limited to words is that love? LOVE is never passive and never without corresponding actions. I would rather someone know my love by my actions rather than just hearing my words.
A man or a woman that tells their spouse, “I love you” then is unfaithful has rendered those words meaningless. A person that says, “I love you” but spreads gossip, rumors, and half-truths about another has transformed those words into meaninglessness. Jesus said, there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for their friends. When I read in John 3:16 that “God loves the world” I do not have to read far to see His corresponding actions that demonstrate that love. When I read Job’s words that he made a “covenant with his eyes not to look on a woman with lust…” I understand that when he says to his wife, “I love you” he is committed to demonstrating that love.
I have had people tell me, “I love you” and knew that it was incredibly superficial and they deemed it the proper thing to say under the circumstances. I have always resisted saying, “I love you” unless I truly meant it. Understand that my desire is to LOVE EVERYONE and manifest the nature of my LORD in all that I do. Do I succeed? I wish the answer was 100% of the time. Sadly, I realize that I am still pressing toward the mark and still find myself repenting. I never want to allow my words to become superficial meaningless chatter but have them backed by the character of my heart.
God bless you as you go through this day!