“Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.” –Kahlil Gibran
“Can I talk to you for just a second?” Louie’s piano teacher asked with a wrinkled brow and concerned look on her face as I came to pick him up for the first time. Oh gosh, I thought. I had pre-warned her that Louie was “different” before the first lesson. He is the youngest of teenage siblings. What can I say? He is 7-years old physically, but mentally he’s going on 13. Now, don’t get me wrong, he is wonderfully imaginative and purely hilarious, but we never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. So, when his teacher pulled me aside to “talk” to me the first time she ever met him, well, I can’t say I was extremely surprised. But, I was curious.
As Louie went over to the treasure box, his teacher gently put her hand on my arm and guided me over to the corner as to not allow Louie to hear her ratting him out. She bent down close to my ear and whispered; “I had asked Louie to play a game to get to know one another. He picked hangman, and he chose the word. Well, it was getting to the end of the game, and I had to guess the word correctly or lose. I looked at what I had to work with: ______ ___O___ ____I___ ___N___. So, I knew for sure that the word must be COIN. However, when I guessed it, Louie said that I lost. So, I asked him what the word was, and he then wrote an “L” in the first blank. His word was L-O-I-N. When she said the word, her lips puckered like it had a sour taste, and her hand grasped my arm a little tighter as to steady me while I soaked in the fact that my child has chosen LOIN as his hangman word. Honestly, I was a little shocked. Loin? It’s one of those words that just sounds gross…like moist. Was he meaning like pork loin…loincloth…or just plain loin in general? It’s not like its part of our everyday vocabulary. Anyway, I could tell she was slightly concerned with his word choice, so I told her I would ask him about it.
When we got into the car, I looked into the rear view mirror and asked him about his lesson. He was so excited to tell me that he had beaten her in hangman. I acted ignorant. “You beat her in hangman? That’s awesome! What was your word?” He looked out the window and a big smile stretched across his face. “My word was LION, mom,” he announced proudly. “Lion? Louie, spell lion.” I said. Louie, playing with his gadget from the treasure box, “L-O-I-N.” I immediately burst into laughing, and almost couldn’t see the road because of the tears in my eyes. “Almost Louie, you just got a couple of the letters mixed up.”
Our lives are filled with miscommunication. Coming from my own experience, I feel like there are times when I’m speaking out of love, but my words come out curt and cruel. It’s totally not intentional. I just have a tendency to release words from my mouth like a bullet…shooting. You can come away injured and bleeding. So although the purpose was pure, the result is hurt feelings and confusion. We get all caught up in what we are going to say, we never really think about the heart of the person who is receiving it. Who are we talking to? Is this something they really need to hear? Are we representing Jesus to them, or are we representing our own values and vision for their lives?
When I look at what’s going to around the world today, I feel like the message of Jesus is getting lost in translation. Christians, we are so passionate about our faith that many of us feel that we have the responsibility to teach the world its lesson. We demand to show the lost and hurting the way, and with clenched fists and sharp tongues. We shout at non-believers pointing out their sins. Yes, the root of this is out of love, but it comes across hateful. Funny thing is, we get confused when they don’t come running to our churches with outstretched arms raised towards Heaven.
Think of it this way, have you ever had someone shine a flashlight in your eyes while you were in a dark room? It’s painful, and you get all mad. It makes you look away and go back into the dark because it’s comfortable there. That’s where the world is. It’s unfeeling and cold, but familiar. However, if we exchange our flashlights for candles or a seat by the fireside, well that’s a whole different thing. It’s warm and welcoming. It’s inviting all on it’s own. People are drawn to it. And, as they walk towards it, their eyes adjust to the light. Nothing can stop them from coming to the fire…it’s so inviting. It calls to them. It’s persuasive flicker draws them near like a moth to the flame. You see, we may hold the candle, but Jesus is the light that compels them to come.
Church, we’ve never had a better opportunity to reach the world. They are hurting, and Jesus is waiting. All we have to do is allow them to see our love, and let the Holy Spirit convict their lives. That doesn’t mean we water down the gospel, or change what it says. It has and always will remain the same. But, it’s through Christ that we are saved, nothing we’ve done on our own. We can’t take credit. All we can do is share what we have.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28