Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, has revolutionized many of our ideas of emotional love. He encompasses love into five areas of interpretation: through acts of service, receiving gifts, touch, quality time, and affirmation of words. I believe we witness to those closest to us with these love languages, but witness to those outside the faith or strangers with acts of kindness.
There are five individuals in my home, with different personalities, and diverse interpretations of love. In regards to Mr. Chapman’s book, he suggests to discover another person’s individual love language, one must intentionally observe they way they express love to others and what they may request from their significant other. Each person in my family has one of these five categories: Tommy is physical touch, Nicholas is words of affirmation, Maddie is quality time, Matthew is gift giving, and I am acts of service.
Witnessing the love of Christ in our family, as we are all believers, requires a heart to serve. As each person interprets love differently, the “giving” of love has to be bestowed the way the person understands. For example, my daughter’s language is quality time. The more time we can spend with her alone, talking and encouraging, Maddie feels loved. If we take time to watch her practice gymnastics, listen to her while she explains new skills achieved in class, and encourage her during competition, our daughter shines bright.
Nicholas spends time with Tommy daily at the gym. Tommy affirms Nicholas’ hard work with words of encouragement and praise. We homeschool our children; Nicholas’ learns well when I compliment him on his homework or his understanding of a new concept. The moment my voice raises in criticism or disapproval, he will literally shrink before your eyes and shut down mentally.
Our smallest, most enthusiastic son, Matthew, is a gift giver. He enjoys, an understatement, receiving gifts, toys, and anything he could play with from paper, to stuffed animals, to electronics, and just plain “stuff”. Matthew will reuse or transform any toy to satisfy his imaginative mind. His little heart is also a giver. He enjoys making, drawing, buying, and giving gifts; anything to make a person smile.
Tommy’s love language is physical touch. He is a hugger and toucher! All of the children can wrestle, lay on, crawl, and hang off my husband. Each of the children have lain with us in bed, snuggling close to their father who scoops them up and willing cuddles, no matter how old they are. Tommy enjoys physical touch from the moment he wakes, to the moment he falls asleep from the children and from his wife. There is never enough hugs or touch for him to receive. He enjoys giving his love and enjoys receiving love from his family.
Finally, I enjoy servicing. I serve my family, I serve the church, and I serve in the community. I love my family by homeschooling, cleaning, cooking, praying, driving, and attending everything I can for them. I try to make their favorite meals, take them to friend’s homes, encourage them in sporting events, play games, and homeschool them with as much patience as I can. I text them telling them I love them, hug and love them, but also charge them with chores and household work, homework, and responsibility.
Witnessing to your family and intentionally loving them the way each personalizes is special, but how do we witness the love of Christ to unbelievers and those around us? I believe through acts of kindness, “…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit with great power; and He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, because God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38)
Throughout my walk as a Christian, God has put on my heart to love others. I have tried to teach my children to do the same through acts of kindness. Our neighbor’s son committed suicide a few years ago. The Lord put on my heart to give her a boutique of flowers on Mother’s Day, letting her know we were thinking of her. Every Mother’s Day since, my children have taken a beautiful arrangement of flowers to this woman.
One year, she came to my house offering a basket of our favorite fruit. When she saw me and I her, we broke down and cried together. She told me, “You have to stop.” I responded, “I can not. It is something God has asked me to do.” My prayer is it has witnessed to her God’s love for those suffering.
A few other acts of kindness the Lord pressed on my heart were:
- paying the toll for the person behind us on the highways
- taking cookies to the military recruiting stations saying thank you for their service
- taking pastries to the fire department and police station
- going to the nursing home weekly to see the elderly we called “grandparents”
- leaving a bag of cookies in the mailbox for the mail carrier
- handing bags of cookies to the sanitation workers
- buying lunch/coffee for someone.
Tommy is a generous giver. The Lord has pressed on his heart to pay monthly mortgages for people who were struggling, given away tickets to sporting events or entertainment venues, offering his realtor services for free, or helping those who are having financial difficulties with a little extra cash. These are just a few ways the Lord has asked us to witness the love of Christ to people who may not know Him.
I pray this day as opened your heart and planted a seed to show the love of Christ to those around you. Whether your immediate family, those who work for you, or those who pass by you every day, ask the Lord how you may be a blessing to them. Ask the Lord to show different ways to witness His love and draw people closer to Him. In a world that has become very selfish, I promise, your act of kindness and witnessing Christ love will be a breath of fresh air to someone’s spirit.