Thursday, February 12, 2009
Current Study: Love
Today’s Topic: Love Means No Strings
Love languages are not designed to be yo-yo’s. If you think they are, then you are the yo-yo. You see, a yo-yo is a toy with a string attached. When that string is attached to your finger, the toy will return to you after you give it away. Some people spend their lives in the world of yo-yo relationships because they think love has strings attached.
By definition, love languages have no strings attached. Let’s take a quick look at the definition of a love language. This may sound pretty simplistic, but it’s important. The name itself reveals two intertwined elements. The first is, obviously, love. The second is communication. To put it simply, a love language is how love is communicated to someone else. But the key to really understanding this is the word love. Real love is all about the other person and not about self. For real love to be effectively communicated it must be spoken in the language of the recipient, not the giver. This is vital for us to understand. Love cannot be sufficiently communicated to another person when done in the most meaningful way to the giver. It must be done in the way it will be fully understood by the receiver. The communication of real love must be all about the one you love, and not about self.
There are two love languages left – physical touch and giving gifts. Just the mention of them brings out the importance of understanding the definition we just gave. These two love languages provide multiple yo-yo opportunities. We must cut the strings. Physical touch and the giving of gifts are not about what feels good to you, but what will be understood as true love to the other person. For true love to be experienced there must be certain emotional and physical responses in place. Love will create a sense of security and trust. Love produces the assurance of unconditional acceptance. Love will bring transparency and openness based on that acceptance and security. And just to be really clear, for the physical elements of love to be fully appreciated, these emotional and psychological elements must be in place first. This must be the goal of even the language of physical touch. In case you’re wondering, the love language of physical touch is not a synonym for sex. Sorry guys!
That brings up another important point to remember – love languages can never be motivated by the need to receive a benefit. That would be the yo-yo’s way of thinking. If you are attempting to speak the love language of your spouse so that they will respond with something you want, then your attempt to show true love is wrong. You are using a yo-yo. Love is about unconditionally giving yourself to the other person with no strings attached. Will there be benefits? You bet! But they are the product of the sincere expression of love, not the selfish one. Those benefits can only be fully experienced if you know they came back to you freely and not as a result of the string you had attached.
On Saturday, many of you will give gifts to express your love for your valentine. Some of you will expect some physical touch in return. Quick, get on your knees right now and address this issue with God. He gave the world the ultimate gift of love in Jesus Christ knowing that from the majority of the human race He would receive nothing in return. Believe me when I tell you that gifts given with even unspoken strings attached will soon be discarded, because the strings are obvious to the receiver. You cannot hide that kind of secret motivation for long! Pray that God’s grace will overwhelm you with a true spirit of love that gives everything and expects nothing.
As I sit at my desk, there is a picture on the wall right in front of me. It is a picture of me sitting with a Cajun man named Raymond. Last year, when I was in his village on the bayou of Louisiana, I had the marvelous privilege of praying with him as he surrendered his life to Jesus. The picture shows me sitting next to him in the fellowship hall of the church with my arm around his shoulder. It was a physical touch of love that demonstrated unconditional acceptance and security to him. That was my only intent. That was a physical touch of love.
Try that with your spouse. Prove to him or her that your touches have no ulterior motives other than to express the assurance of unconditional acceptance. Give gifts that have meaning to them and not you. Be creative. Then before you give the gift or attempt the touch, make sure you have disconnected all strings. Don’t be a yo-yo.