It’s funny the things that pop into our minds. One of my first thoughts this morning was the old saying “children should be seen and not heard”. Really, Lord, that’s my first thought? As I went through my morning, I asked what He was trying to tell me. As the morning progressed, He put further thoughts in my mind.

People talk all the time. Words flippantly come out “love you” when ending a conversation. And there are plenty of less loving and edifying words that we hear and say throughout the day. The question before me is do my actions match my words? If they don’t, then I am hypocritical.

God doesn’t want us to be hypocritical. “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) He wants our actions to reflect Him.  

It’s easy to let words come out of our mouths. It’s much harder to follow those words with actions. Yet, our actions usually show the state of our hearts much better than our words. God calls us to love each other with actions. It’s easy to say that we love our family and our friends, but if we walk away from those relationships at the first sign of trouble, then our actions say more about love than our words. It’s easy to say that we love the poor and the orphaned, but if we’re not doing anything to help those people, then our actions show how we really feel.

Love is about more than hearts and words. Love requires action. Love means we set aside some of our own wants and needs to see to the wants and needs of others. Love requires sacrifice. It means putting other people in front of yourself. Many times that is difficult, especially when we notice that friends or family are not putting action to their words that proclaim their love for us. I have been struggling with a relationship for months, noticing that there are no actions behind the words.

The Lord knows I’ve been struggling, and He knows the hurt I’ve felt. This morning He allowed a quick thought into my mind even before I had coffee. He wanted me to search my heart and mind using His Word to search for what He was trying to show me. The message wasn’t for the other person in this relationship, His Word was for me. No matter what, we must love one another. “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.” (1 Peter 1:22)

What does God’s Word say that love is? “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Cor 13:4-7)

No matter how another treats you, we are to love them anyway. We are to be patient, knowing the Lord hasn’t perfected them yet, just as we are not yet perfected. We are not to seek things for ourselves, and we are not to keep a checklist. We really never know what’s going on with someone else. But we are called to love one another, and to pray for one another. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Eph. 6:18)