Can a Christian say ‘l love you’ to a fellow believer?
Without the fear of being misunderstood or having his motives misinterpreted?
Many of my African friends may answer yes to these but taking it further-when last did you say ‘ l love you’ to someone?
Many classical African churches would answer NO and assert that you only say it to your wife or fiancee. This is typical of churches who prefer to play safe in their approach to teaching by adopting a conservative demeanour. There’s a questionable sides to such classical religious line of thought especially judging from the fact that these teachings most times is not what the student Christian do outside. So rather than pretend and run in hypocrisy it’s better to divulge every concept with the truth in simplicity.
Other persons may also say NO and explain ‘ l love you’ as a phrase that’s been heavily mumbled, wumbled and misused by the world. those in this school of thought decides to adopt the total abstinence approach. This is a hard attempt because we have the nature of God which is love, one cannot continue to suppress ones content, it will always want to have an expression. I would rather propose that Christians relearn what the Bible has about love, and instead of copying from the world should insist on the biblical injunction thereby salt the world on what love is.
Many African would also say NO in the spirit of Africanism. But this is all tendencies toward the status quo, not really love for African values per say. Our world is changing- sorry it have undergone series of changes. We would do better to analyze this changes with the Truth; the WORD, in simplicity and not by sticking to what we think even at the risk of pretends.
Love as a concept has been so much redefined. Some choose to approach the definition of love by splitting it into cadres; phileos, Eros, Storge, and Agape. Though I have my reservation about this approach because the Bible did not have such rendering-understandably the explanations are rooted in the Bible. The splitting should better be emphasized for the purpose of comprehension. Love is love, with all it’s component it functions as one entity. Trying to split love is like trying to split an individual into spirit, soul and body. Instead, a gold definition for love is no other but as outlined in 2Cor 13. Love conceptualized this way can be confessed, shared, and expressed to one another in the faith.
O yes! We must come out from the fear of misinterpretation. We live in a Small world; once it occurs to one, soon it will occur to all. All that is needed to address this fear is to create a state, a shared sense of understanding in one another in the what’s not and what love is. Such understanding could include;
1. ‘l love you’ is not a proposal, it does not mean am thinking futuristic of you.
2.’ I Love You’ could simply mean an expression of gratitude, pleasantries, goodwill, acceptance, value, greetings, etc to one another.
3. It is also not wholly an expression of the emotions or feelings. Love is spiritual and has an emotional and physical connotation. So ‘I LOVE YOU’ rather connotes that someone had successfully connected with you spiritually; had found purpose, fellowship, comradeliness, and more with you. Though emotions cannot be completely excised but it should not be the emphasis, and love too is not complete without the physical aspect-sacrifice.
4. Love is not a good feelings only-it is such feelings as the journey to the cross or 2 Cor13.
5. Love is not infatuation, lust, physical attraction or hormonal reactions to opposite sex.
6. Love is love, no more no less! You cannot say I love you with brotherly love (phileos) for instance. Trying to explain or tag your love expression would only bring more confusion-leave it simple: ‘I LOVE YOU’
7. Every one desires to be loved, no one would be offended when you say ‘I love you’. Rather it is the fulfilment of the gospel-love your neighbors as you love your self: hereby is all the law fulfilled (Gal5:14; Roms 13:10). ‘I love you’ would be a very effective way to exercise Eph 4:29:
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
‘I love you’ should thus be purposefully said, not given to flattering. When used in this faith it can bring peace to a troubled minds, if said to someone in pain, it can help relieve their pain, it can bring healing to the sick, it can bring edification to one in depression, it can bring sense of value to one feeling inferior, hope to one in despair, especially depending on who is saying it, it brings the giver and the receiver to a level of spiritual, emotional and physical pal.
8. ‘ I love you’ is an antidote that should be shared without reservation, good for the goose and gander. It’s expression should be shared from the grassroots; from the grandparents to the parents to the siblings to the friends to the partners to the strangers and to all.
9. ‘I love you’ should not be controversial, it is necessary to be informed about the level of understanding and sense of reasoning between the two parties and to first build a mutual understanding on the what’s and what’s not of love. If you want to experiment it, you could start by saying it to parents and siblings and you would see how it feels and be more comfortable when you say it outside.
Happy New Year#
I Love You!