The Best Way to Show You Love Someone
Someone once told me that the command Jesus most frequently gave is to love one another, so I Googled it to find out how many times he said it—it was five times. As Christians, we all know that this is the ultimate message, that by loving each other we show our love to the Lord.
I’ve struggled with how to act on that command, to love one another. I do the usual… try not to be judgmental or to participate in damaging gossip, be kind to others, donate to charities and volunteer when possible. These are all good ways to show love to others. But what if I told you there is a way, one way, to do all these things at once?
I’ve found a way to combine being kind, non-judgmental, and generous in one simple act of love. Are you paying attention to what I’m saying, really listening to me? Good. Because that’s what I’m trying to say. We all need the support, healing or reassurance that comes from being treated with love. I’m not talking about kind words. I’m talking about no words. That’s right, no words. I’m talking about listening, really listening. Truly listening is the ultimate act of love. It’s not a two way give and take.
You might think you listen all the time. But I challenge you to consider this: when was the last time you listened to someone and weren’t formulating a reply as they spoke?
If you are truly listening to someone, your concentration is solely on what they are trying to communicate to you, listening with understanding, with an open heart.
I talk too much! I have good intentions, but the more I talk the less I hear. More often than not, when someone else is doing the talking, they are telling me what concerns them. But you know what? They aren’t really looking for a solution. They usually already know what they’re going to do. They’re just processing their thoughts, not asking me to solve their problem for them. That is, unless they out-and-out ask me for my opinion. But that doesn’t happen very often in most conversations, does it?
This is about the need to be heard. We all need to know that our voice is being heard. Not just the words but their intention. I know when I’ve been listening with an open heart because I have no reply in my head ready to launch from my mouth. One of our emotional thermometers of how important we are to someone is their willingness to stop and listen to what we have to say.
When I really, really listen to my companion, not only am I sharing a piece of their life, but I’m also giving them some of my most precious commodity, my time. Time is the only thing we can give away and never, ever recover. How much more precious this makes the time you give in listening to someone.
Truly listening is the ultimate act of love. If I put my ego aside and admit that this isn’t about my brilliant solution or insightfulness, I have an opportunity to be purely selfless. All I need to do is shut up and listen. And in doing so I am being kind. I’m being non-judgmental. I’m being generous. And one caveat to listening is that I always learn more from listening than from talking.
And now the best part. Loving others in this way is loving God. But of course, you already knew that. So how about this. Love God with your silence, listening for his love. Without asking for anything, without looking for an answer, tell the Lord you love him. Tell him you love Him enough to not have an agenda this time. Tell Him that this time you are just here to love and to listen. And if you don’t hear anything, keep listening and receive His gift of silence, the peace that can only come from silence.
So, be gracious. Take this moment to allow yourself to love and be loved. And when you are finished, however long or short your moment is, you will understand how great a gift the Lord has just given you and that you have given in return.