Speaking the Christian Language
When Christianity was in its early years, a Christian would sometimes draw half a fish in the sand with his foot and if another person finished it off with the symbol of a fish by drawing the other half with his foot, it was an indication that the other person was a Christian. When this silent form of asking someone and having that person acknowledge his or her religious status was done, it was a time when Christians were persecuted. How do you know someone is a Christian today? Everyone has heard the saying, "Being in a church makes you just as much a Christian as being in a garage makes you a car." Then, there is the song that has the lyrics "They will know we are Christians by our love." However, the Christian people are a broken people. So, many times we fail. This blog is about trying to practice more of the religion and trying to stop the cycle of hatred in the world. With war going on in different parts of the world and crime being on the rise. why do we not try to express love towards other people in general? According to author Gary Chapman who wrote the book The Five Love Languages, when it comes to romantic love there are five ways couples can express their love towards one another. The same applications can be put into practice with interactions with all people and not just romantic ones. Now that we are approaching Lent, it is good to try to practice love towards all people and try to decrease the hatred and the violence happening in the world.
Some people give out words of affirmation or use other words that build other people up. They give out honest verbal compliments or words of appreciation. According to psychologist William James it is possible that the deepest need humans can have is to feel appreciated. For some, words of affirmation meet that need. There are numerous words used to break people down. Why not use words to try to lift other people up?
"The tongue has the power of life and death."--Proverbs 18:21 NIV
Another way of expressing love is giving someone quality time. "Quality Time" is giving someone your undivided attention. This does not mean sitting on the couch and watching T.V. so you can give the television your undivided attention. It means carrying on a conversation and listening to what the other person has to say. It means being there for someone when they are hurting and not so much fun to be around. It encompasses letting someone know you are there for them when that person needs it.
Gift giving is another way to express love. It does not have to be romantic love. The spirit of giving is almost always attributed to love. Different people respond differently. For some, receiving gifts or visible symbols of love speaks to them the loudest. If you are going to give someone a gift you have to be thinking of them. It does not have to cost money. It could be a poem, a flower picked, or simply a note wishing them a nice day. The importance is that you are thinking of someone else. There are several companies that sell products that benefit many people. One of my favorites is the company "Cuddle and Kind" which sells ethically produced dolls for children while using the proceeds to provide school meals for other kids.
A different way of expressing love towards people is to do an act of service. An act of service is like volunteering or doing something that makes other people happy like serving at a local food kitchen for the homeless. It could be volunteering at a hospital or nursing home or knitting for people in need. It is said that "Actions speak louder than words."
In conclusion, there are many ways of trying to express kindness and love towards other people not just during Lent but throughout the whole year. We are living in a time where hate crimes are on the rise. War is going on. Bullying has increased. Why do we not try and put beliefs of being kind to other people into practice to try and combat the hatred and negativity going on in the world? These are just simply some examples of trying to be kind to other people and show them love and not hatred.