Don’t Love with Words?

1 John 3

Monday, October 17, 2022

If you have never heard of G.T. and the Halo Express, 1) you are missing out on quality kids music/plays and 2) sorry, you won’t be able to sing along with my devotions for the next few days.

I encourage you to read the whole chapter of 1 John 3, but I am just going to focus on one verse, my favorite – 18, (thanks to memorizing it in this kids play growing up).  The translation I learned was “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” 

I have been listening to this one with my daughter, and it has sparked some discussion.  The song breaks it up a little bit, and the line that is sung together is “let us not love with words or tongue.”  When we look at the whole verse, it is easy to know that we shouldn’t stop there.  But for a 4 year old who doesn’t quite understand all the subtleties of language yet, that was confusing.  Why should we not love with words?

This isn’t saying we shouldn’t use our words to be loving, but rather that it shouldn’t stop at that.  If all we do is say that we love someone, it really means nothing.  We need to show people that we love them in how we act, and by being truthful.

It reminds me of James 2:17 “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

My dad taught a memorable object lesson to our class when I was growing up.  He took us for a car ride in one of the many winter months (it’s Minnesota – they all blend together) with the windows rolled down.  As he drove, he asked us, “Are you cold?”  When we of course said yes, his response was, “I’m really sorry you’re cold!  I wish you were warm.”  And he kept on driving.  His point was that even if you say the right things, when you can make a difference in the situation (such as putting the windows up) but do nothing, what you say doesn’t matter.

Jesus truly showed his love in action by his sacrifice for us.  We ought to show others that we love them, not just tell them.

It is a good reminder for a 4-year-old to be loving in her actions toward her little brother and a good reminder for everyone to be loving in their actions towards anyone they interact with.

~Stephanie Fletcher

Reflection Questions

  1. When have you found yourself saying the loving thing – but not showing love with your actions? What problem is created here? How can you fix this?
  2. According to the rest of the chapter what else do our actions show?
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