My husband and I were recently on a mission trip in Chiapas, Mexico. We worked with Habitat for Humanity to build a house for a family in need. This family is part of an indigenous community, whose ancestors are of Mayan descent. Their language is Tzotzil. For one week, we were immersed into their culture and way of life. Every day we would arrive to the chilly work site and find that the women in the village had made hot tortillas, tea, and coffee for us. Three completely different groups of people (our team, the Mexican Habitat staff, and our village) worked side by side each day to build this house. It required a lot of translating (and patience!) to get the job done. One thing that really stuck with me was when we learned that they don’t have a word for “love”. It simply doesn’t exist in their language. I thought it was crazy when our translator told us this. But then, she went on to explain that the word doesn’t exist because it is something that is shown rather than said.
It occurred to me how often we “throw” the word “love” around. “I love this song.” “I love pizza.” “I love my family.” “I love these hills.” But how often do we, honestly, mean it? The people in our Mexican village are constantly serving one another. The women show love to their families by cooking, cleaning, and caring for the children. The men show love by working to support them. But how do we show love to one another? How does someone really know you love them, when we can be so quick to show differently by our actions? So many times we say one thing and our actions display another. We say we love our parents, but disobey them. We say we love our friends, but gossip about one of them. We say we love Jesus, but use His name in vain. Pretty soon, the word “love” has lost all its meaning. I’m not perfect. None of us are. Thankfully, Jesus loved us so much by actually doing something to show it. He died on the cross so that WE could live with him someday in absolute paradise. I challenge you to show your love to someone through your actions.
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:9-13