Let’s talk about love. Better yet, let’s talk about declaring and confessing love. Sadly, in our Western culture, expressing love has become a rare gesture given in iota, and is often coupled with a speck sense of embarrassment. Even within the family, when we do say these words, you know how often many of us utter them quickly, half-heartedly (in Hebrew – half-‘mouthfully’), with a shy, low tone. Did you notice how many of us, trying to escape rapidly from these uncomfortable moments of declaring love, cut out half of the syllables of the full statement so that from ‘I love you’ you are left with the skeleton words ‘..love ya..’ Really? Who loves here? Who is this ‘ya’? If it is me, why we don’t hear a fully committed ‘you.’
A simple hug, which is a fundamental physical demonstration or expression of love, did not escape its share of distortion as well. Have you received a hug lately? Can you count how many of them were of the face-to-face, bosom-to-bosom kind? A western, non-biblical hug is the most ‘edge-of-shoulder-to-edge-of-shoulder’ hug while making sure that the face is turned well away from the other person’s face.
If this is what is left of love expressions within families, what is left for expressions of love between fellow human beings?
The biblical expression of love in the family is complete, wholehearted and leaves no room for misunderstanding:
“And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him; and they wept”
Of course, we substitute love expressions with cards, where the paper does the speaking for us. Texting and placing ‘likes’ kind’a does the job too. Giving to charity is truly an expression of love. But all of us, as human beings, need to hear it in our ears and feel it in our bosoms. Love needs to be confessed, even for the price of humility. We can take the greatest example of all from our Father God, who speaks his words out loud, once with a male’s grammatical form:
“Since you were precious in my sight, you were honored, and I have loved you; therefore will I give men for you, and people for your life”
And once with the feminine form:
“The Lord has appeared to me, far away, saying, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have remained true to you”
If God himself declares His love to us so openly with words, can’t we follow His standard among our own small parcel of God—our loved ones?
Take a meaningful step in your own life and say the words (in Hebrew first) to a loved one today! A•hav•ti•cha (to a male) and A•hav•tich (to a female). Yes, these are biblical poetic words. The modern way requires, just as it is in English, three words: ‘a•ni o•hev o•tach (male to female) and ‘a•ni o•he•vet ot•cha’ (female to male).