I'm a little frustrated because I lost what I was writing a few minutes ago and it won't be quite the same as it was, but I think I'll get by.
I've been thinking about what I say lately, I mean, do I actually mean what I say and do I show it? It's like in James 2 when he talks about the whole "faith without deeds is dead" thing. You can say you believe something, but if there's nothing to back it up, do you really believe it? The gospel of Christ is the kind of experience that requires more than just words being said to show you believe it. It makes sense doesn't it? If I say I believe the Bible, but absolutely nothing that I do shows that statement to be true, do I actually believe it? I would suggest not. In a similar way, if I say that I want to support the fight against cancer but I do nothing at all to show that, who will believe me in saying that? Nobody.
The perspective I am currently pondering is that of love. If I tell someone I love them (parent, friend, brother, sister, etc.) but do nothing to show it, why should they actually believe what I'm saying? This is something that I've struggled with for a few years, and it's not an easy one to grapple.
One of my best friends, Mike, has some wall hangings on the wall in his apartment (perhaps the doing of his fiancee, perhaps not, I don't know) one of which reads "Love like you've never been hurt." How hard is that? I've been thinking it should maybe say "Love like you've never been hurt and like you've never hurt someone." For me, actions speak louder than words, that's just how my personality works, and if I say something I want to follow it up with action, of course I don't always succeed and that rips me apart when I don't. It comes from dependence on God, and sometimes I'm just not there, it's so tough. So when I hurt someone, it's so tempting to just shut people that I care about "for their best interest" so that I can't hurt them or be hurt again.
Does that really give any value to life? I don't think so. Jesus loved regardless. He got trashed by others, and he just kept walking towards Golgotha because of his love for us all.
That's so huge to me. He didn't just say it, he showed it. I believe that God has given me the gift of service, so being a servant is one way I show I care. Or you could say that one of my love languages is works of service. But to go along with that is the words of affirmation or encouragement one. They go hand in hand in my mind and it works perfectly for me. The difficulty comes when others don't show me that they care or that they mean what the say in the same ways I do, because in the end I feel rejected or hurt. Sometimes it's warranted, sometimes maybe not, I'm certainly not the best judge of that.
As I had mentioned previously, it comes down to whether I'm willing to love regardless of what will happen. I truly believe that life without love is not worth living, but I don't mean "marriage" kind of love or even just "friends" kind of love. I mean love in it's truest form, from God, that bleeds into all relationships and all areas of life, regardless of what comes back to you.
After all, is it really love if you expect something in return?