I’m assuming that most of you have heard of Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages. In it, he describes the five fundamental ways in which people primarily give or receive love. They are: gifts, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and words of affirmation. The gist of the book is that each of us have one or two of these areas in which we really feel loved when someone expresses it through that forum.
And conversely, we really feel hurt when love is withheld from us in that category, or worse yet, when someone we care about does something that we perceive as negative in our primary love language. For example, I’m all about words. Splatter a few tidbits of encouragement my way and I’m good to go for the week. But cut me down. Degrade me or place a label on me and I’ll fall under its weight.
As I was once again trying to prepare my heart for Easter, to try to grasp something that is so enormous that I honestly admit I’ll never fully get it, I noticed one startling thing:
Jesus experienced rejection in each of those five areas in the days or moments leading up to the crucifixion.
In other words, it doesn’t matter if Jesus had a primary love language (after all, God is love. Period). It isn’t about guessing if there is a way in which we can or can’t show our love in a way that resonates to the Most High. It’s that Jesus experienced the negative effects in each of these categories.
The cat of nine tails clawing at his back, intentionally being thrashed into his flesh over and over.
Thorns pressed deep into soft flesh.
Nails. Driven down, down, down.
Oh, and the lack of air. Yes, the gasping over and again, desperate for just one. more. breath.
Words of Affirmation
Mocking, ridiculing, taunting.
The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, ‘Prophesy! Who hit you?” (Luke 22:63-64)
The very men Jesus poured everything into had a choice as he faced his darkest hour. Endure the trail with him or skidaddle.
One denied. Over and over and over. “I don’t know the man.”
Can you imagine that? Right as things get hard, you overhear your best friend say, “nope. I don’t know her. Never met her.” That’s pretty much what the Rock said. Let’s add that line to the lack of words of affirmation category, too.
Acts of Service
Purple designated royalty, and for once a robe of that color graced Jesus’ shoulders, but only in mockery. The closest the masses came that day to paying him respect was riddled with sarcasm and disdain. Nothing kind was done to Jesus that day. But everything unkind was.
That sharp crown pressed much too deep.
The purple robe, a vivid display of mockery.
And a beam weighing 30-40 pounds, laid upon his back to carry to the place where he would die. Or at least carry it as far as his tortured body would allow.
But What About Love?
Like I said, when someone we love does the opposite of our primary love language, it pierces deep.
But these people obviously didn’t love Jesus, right?
Probably not, or at least they didn’t display it in those moments.
Be he loved them so very, very much.
A love I won’t begin to understand.
A love that became the reason to endure pain reaching levels our minds can’t fathom. Willingly, so.
What is your love language? How do you respond or feel when someone you care about hurts you in that vernacular? How does that enhance your view of Easter and Jesus’ five love languages of the cross?