Speaking in Love
In the last six months, my house has undergone a change when considering hospitality and homemaking. You see, I can be somewhat fanatical about the cleanliness of my house. You can read here about how fanatical I can be. We're talking horribly stressed out, even when my husband would call it spotless, I can think of 50 other things I can do to make it better. I can be crazy about it.
Thanks to some health issues, my growing children, and different life priorities, I have made a change. You see, I had noticed that all of my crazy cleanings didn't make my guests feel comfortable in my home. If they left a trace of a mess, they would constantly apologize. This isn't at all how I wanted my guests to feel. I had cleaned like a crazy person because I wanted them to feel comfortable and welcome in my home. Instead, the lack of a lived-in mess caused them to experience the polar opposite!
Thankfully, this new endeavor has worked very well in this current season of life. In this season in my life, I have a newly turned 4-year-old who wants to vacuum. Guess what? His vacuuming job is less than professional but perfect for this experiment. My six-year-old has developed a love of cooking and baking. His end-product doesn't always look professional, but they're guaranteed to taste delicious! Purposefully setting out to have a "good enough" approach to hospitality and homemaking has caused a shift in my guest's comfort level. Some guests are even taking off their shoes, grabbing a throw blanket, and settling into my couch. They've begun to treat my house like their home and what a blessing that truly is!
Here in these verses, we happen upon a dinner party at Simon's house. Whether or not a lot of people were invited, when Jesus showed up someplace, it turned into a party. The guest list, in some cases, were massive as whole towns showed up to where He was. But here, we see three main people: Simon, Jesus, and the woman with a perfume jar.
What strikes me the most about this story is Jesus' hospitality. You see, He was meant to be the guest, but instead, He was the one who showed the most hospitality of anyone in that house. When this woman showed up crying, repenting, and worshiping, Jesus didn't turn her away. When she was judged harshly by their host, Jesus was the one who accepted her and challenged Simon's point of view. When the disciples were disgusted by her wastefulness, Jesus pointed out what a gift they were all witnessing on that day.
Simon had sought excellence in his living and in his pursuit of God but fell short when he missed God's heart in this moment. The disciples were spending their time learning from Jesus, but they didn't discern the beauty of this moment. Jesus, to me, best represents that cozy home where all you want to do is take off your shoes, grab a throw blanket, and settle in. He welcomed where others judged or turned away. Even to those who didn't react or best understand the situation, Jesus softly told a story to encourage them all to view this moment through God's eyes.
So many times, when we encounter unfair words, we use our words to loudly and angrily point out all the reasons someone else is wrong. Anger doesn't convert or persuade, love does. When Jesus refrains from getting angry with His host and His disciples, He opens the door for everyone in the room to come to a place of repentance and to see God's heart in this moment.
So What Can We Learn About Speaking in Love from Jesus?
Speaking in a loving way means waiting to respond until after we listen and watch what is truly happening. Jesus watched this woman walk in with her box of perfume. He watched her kneel down before Him to wash His feet with her tears and dry them with her hair. He didn't speak until He knew what was happening. He spoke to people around Him out of the knowledge of the truth of what was happening, not assumption. It's easy for us to be like Simon or the disciples and speak prematurely, without all the facts. Speaking in love means watching, listening, and seeking to understand the bigger picture.
Speaking in a loving way means reining in our tongues and allowing God to use us for His purpose. Jesus didn't speak out of anger to Simon's judgment. He gently responds (Proverbs 15:1-4) to Simon and doesn't stir up anger or strife. He calmly shares a story with the intention of bringing Simon to a different point of view.
Speaking in a loving way means pointing out the blessing and beauty of the moment. Jesus was surrounded by people who were focused on everything but the beauty of the moment. The beauty was that this woman had come to Him for repentance and showered her great love all over Jesus. This very moment is talked about in Luke 15 where Jesus shares about the joy in heaven when one sinner repents. Would you really want to sacrifice this eternal moment for something as silly as money or a person's past? This was a beautiful, ETERNAL, moment they were witnessing. This was a moment that would last for eternity! This moment was meant for celebration and not judgment or criticism. May we all be quick to notice the value of a single moment. May we all quickly thank and praise God for these precious gifts!
Representing Jesus in Our Speech
Speaking in love is the spiritual equivalent of the cozy home where you just want to take off your shoes, grab a blanket, and settle in. When we choose to be hospitable with our words, we're choosing to represent Jesus with our speech. We're choosing to let cozy hospitality overflow our hearts and flow through our words and our actions. How will you be hospitable to the world around you through loving words that reflect Jesus?