It’s funny how the stages of life provide new experiences, lessons, loses, and friendships. Since moving to Kentucky, Christy and I have really learned a lot about who we are as a couple as well as who we are in Christ. Sometimes it just takes a different view with different people around you to give you a different perspective.
One of these lessons came in the form of a new friend and mentor for me. We’ve known this man for over 4 years now. He can be described as one of the few people I know who talk about the Father as if He were right here, right now. With feeling.
This man teaches me things almost weekly. We get together for coffee, or chat on the phone for a little bit. I used to terrorize him by texting his flip phone constantly. He couldn’t stand to not text back, so he’d take 10 minutes to send a 1 minute text. He’s now stepped into the 21st century with his smart phone.
He said something to me one time that changed me.
No one outside my family told me this like he did.
Not only did he say it once, but over and over again. In fact, every time we get together he says it.
I remember the first time he said it. We were at a church gathering; a lunch of some sort and we were parting ways and he said, “I love you bud.” What do you do when a man says, “I love you” to another man?? In my world, you get weird followed by an awkward smile and a “thanks man.” But I surprised myself. I said it back!
The funny thing is that I knew he really meant it. He wasn’t being “all Christian,” or “holy,” or “one upping” with the pastor act. (Yes, that happens.) He meant it and was telling me so I’d know. There was no pride, no pretending to be someone he wasn’t, and he really didn’t appear to struggle in saying so. He really cares for me as a friend and was telling me.
Men aren’t very good at this, but we need to be! We terrorize each other on purpose. That’s how we say “I love you!” Women think we are awful! Sometimes when he is speaking in a group, I’ll call his cell phone just to see if he remembered to put it on silent. He quietly ignores it and later on we roll in laughter! I’ve learned a lot from this friend about simply telling someone “I love you.”
It doesn’t have to be weird, is certainly not sexual in nature, and it often comes with a hug to convey meaning. (A tight man hug, not one of those “I kinda know you and feel like I’m supposed to do this right now” hugs. The loose hug is akin to the limp handshake from a man.)
He’s opened my eyes to the fact that believers need to let others know how we feel about them. We DO love them! We appreciate the work they do for the kingdom. We value their friendship. Their opinion matters.
I’ve been trying to do better at this by telling others I love them. I have a couple in my life whom you might call “spiritual grandparents.” I practice on them. When I see them, I start with her; telling her I love her and giving her a big hug. Then I move on to him; doing the same thing.
Our Heavenly Father has given us a love for one another that surpasses every kind of love. As brothers and sisters in Him, we have a unique relationship with one another. We’ve been forgiven and granted something we could never gain on our own. We’ll be with one another for eternity, serving our King.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Show your friends in Christ you love them. Tell them you love them. Men, practice by telling your family and find a close brother in Christ to whom you can say, “you know what, I love you as a brother in the Lord.”
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.