At first look, this t-shirt design may seem a little grotesque. That was my wife, Martha’s, reaction anyway. But that was the reaction I was looking for. I wanted to create a shock factor because this is a message that a lot of people need to hear. This was a lesson that I’ve learned and had to revisit time and again over the last year.
Last Thanksgiving, my father dropped a bomb on us that caused most of the family to abandon him. I’ll spare you the gory details, but the point is that it caused me to dig deep, examine my heart, and ask God to perform some “heart surgery” in me. It really made me think about how carelessly we use the phrase “I love you.” I’m guilty of it myself!
I found that eventhough I told my father, “I love you,” I wasn’t acting like it. I stopped coming around. I stopped calling. I pretty much cut him off. Then God convicted me. And He did it with this message, “What good is love if it’s not shown?”
It’s kinda like the old DC Talk song “Love is a Verb.” You can say “I love you” all day long, but until you act on it- until you show it- it’s just words! And, get this, they can be some of the most hurtful words you will ever speak!
How can “I love you” be hurtful, you ask? Well, think of this. Which is worse, to tell someone you love them, but to act like you don’t or to never utter the words at all?
Now I know that there are relationships where the words “I love you” are never spoken, and I don’t mean to belittle the hurt that can come with never hearing the one you love say that they love you in return. But I would offer that it is more hurtful to be hurt by or ignored by someone who says “I love you.”
With that said, how do we show love? In a lot of cases, it could be as simple as a kind word or recognition. There are so many people who go through life ignored, marginalized, or belittled. In other cases, it could be a random act of kindness, spending time with someone, or filling a need. I would say that it depends on the situation. With my father, I think it’s as simple as letting him know that I haven’t abandoned him when others may have. I try to do this by meeting for coffee or sending a text or a phone call. It’s not easy, especially when others think he should be left to his own devices. But I do believe it’s what God has called us to do.
What do you think? How do you show love? Leave your ideas in the comments section below. Who knows? You may help someone show love to another in need.