“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:18
Often people will look at someone, and try to figure them out– they listen to their words or vocabulary. They examine the things we say, and also the way we say it. But according to John, this a flawed way of discerning legitimacy.
Love, in his eyes, is most assuredly “doing.” Speaking falls really short. Our words, although important, are an insufficient way of proving authenticity. When you listen closely, even the best fall short. Love is not expressed by being profound or eloquent in our speech. We can shout out the truth and never show love at all. That is disturbing, but when will we figure out that love is a verb?
“Actions and in truth.” This standard propels us to another level. To act and reveal, puts us on a sound and sure level of discipleship. It means that we will not just say things that sound really good and wise. But we would “do love” and not just be talking about it.
I can quite easily mimic the dialect of love. I verbalize so much that is just plain goofy and nonsense. My eloquent words simply fog and darken. They are not real. (If it were real, I would “do.”)
John is calling believers to a much more real kind of love.
If we do adjust ourselves to this, it alters and shapes us into authentic believers. Admittably, this can be frightening, and something that will disturb us deeply. Even as mature believers, we will avoid it and try to “imitate” something else. It’s not only easier, but less dangerous.
And to love is to be profoundly dangerous.
We are expressly called to do, and not to say. No questions about our words, and speech–they are significant. But our deeds, putting love into acts and deeds is vital, critically so. Being a doer, and not just a speaker, is the descriptive essence of the real believer.
We must do, and then we can say.