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What is God’s Love Language?

6November2012

I first heard about love language about 6 years ago when a young woman said to me of her husband, “He just doesn’t understand my love language.” I had no idea what she was talking about so she pointed me to Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages.

(Go here to take a quiz to see what yours is: http://www.5lovelanguages.com)

Those of you who know me probably know that I would fall into the category of “Acts of Service,” specifically cooking. For my friends I make salsa. For my family I cook almost five nights a week and not just grilled cheese sandwiches either. I make things for people, I scrapbook my kids’ pictures into beautiful albums, I write notes of encouragement and I walk my dog EVERY day because I love him. (So if I show up on your doorstep with a pie, don’t be surprised! You’ll know what it means!)

But what about God? What is God’s love language? Last week at lunch with two fellow CCD authors we were discussing atonement theories. In other words, that age old question of “Did Jesus have to die to save humanity?” And “If so, then doesn’t that make God a divine child abuser? Was violence the only answer?” For some this goes beyond the limits of believability. . . a God who would allow his son to be murdered surely could not be a benevolent God. It is a deal-breaker for some who cannot stomach such violence. But what if we are thinking too hard about this? (I know, how often does that actually happen that we would say we are thinking too much?) Maybe we read too much of our modern story into the first century string of events that unfolded that led to Jesus being hanged on a cross.

Let me say right now where I want to lead you: God’s Love Language is Sacrifice. Sacrificial love is God’s modus operandi. God through Jesus Christ was one walking in love’s shoes. . . not love like “I love Swiss chocolate,” or “I just love that new song by (insert favorite artist’s name here).” Love that is costly, expensive, extravagant, selfless and risky. Plus I always get stuck when people say “God did this” and “Jesus did that” trying to figure out how to reconcile that as “one God, three persons.” One minute we don’t want to separate the Trinity out into single entities and the next we do so that it fits our argument. God killed Jesus! God allowed that to happen to his son, would you allow that to happen to your son? (Okay so I must have slept through Trinitarian theology, sorry!) Rather, Jesus, man born to walk among us, yet fully divine at the same time, chose to put aside his divinity because of his love for humanity. He took it off the table so to speak. In all of his humanness he lived a God-focused life because he was fully divine and there is no way for God to go against himself. With me so far? So as Jesus walked through life in love’s shoes, he met people and worked to free them from bondage, whatever was holding them captive he worked to destroy. And that got him in a heap of trouble. The logical conclusion of that trouble was riling up the leaders, both civic and religious. As events unfolded Jesus continued walking in love and justice and he wasn’t making any friends among the powerful. They wanted to shut him up. . . and that’s exactly what they did. They tried to kill love incarnate.

But love incarnate could not be killed. Did Jesus die? Yes. Did God orchestrate the whole thing like a master puppeteer or was it love that led the way down the fatal road? What God did do is raise Jesus from the dead, never to die again. What God did do is tear that dividing curtain down that separates humanity from Love. God is LOVE. Sacrificial, self-emptying, radical, effusive LOVE. There will be no apple pies from God, but there will new life,the pies come from people like me who want to share Christ’s love. There will be no hugs and kisses from Jesus, but there will be freedom from sin, death and the devil,the hugs come from your faith family who want you to know you are loved. There will be no sweet words (well maybe there will be sweet words, but they will sound like a lover’s voice). Quality time with our Lord? It’s a coming! And Gift giving? You’ve already received it in the promise of the resurrection.

God’s Love Language- Sacrificial Love- embodies all of the five languages and takes it one step further. Jesus’ willingness to risk everything for us shows us exactly what love language God works out of.  I think I’ll go and make Jesus some cookies now.

ACL@CCD

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