Last week I received an interesting email that has Pennsylvania (that’s us!) listed as the seventh most affectionate state in the United States.

It was interesting to read that, seeing as Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it. The writer of the article said there are at least 183 ways to say “I love you” in the English language. But she goes on to say that in a survey of 2,300 people, more than 40 percent said they often say those three simple words without actually meaning them. How sad.

We all have heard people say “luv you” and have known they were empty words, just something to say, maybe instead of “good-bye” when leaving or ending a conversation. So many times we have heard, especially on TV shows, someone saying, “I really thought he/she loved me.” Usually it is in a romantic relationship that has taken a wrong turn, but we all are part of so many other kinds of relationships.

In any given relationship, how can we know when a person is being sincere when they say those three precious words, “I love you”? Actually, the answer is pretty simple, especially for those who still believe the words in the Bible are true and apply to life today. In I John 3:18, we are told, “let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” As someone once said, that is pretty self-explanatory.

Our words mean little if they are not backed up by our actions. John wasn’t telling us that we have to go out and buy expensive gifts every time we want to tell someone we love them. He was saying that we have to show people that we love them, and there are as many ways to do that as there are people on the earth.

Each one of us is different, each one of us has different needs, and each one of us has different gifts to give to others. I was talking to a friend the other night and she said, “My time is my gift, I guess.” There is no guessing about it; she does give the gift of her time freely and often to many who need a shoulder to cry on, someone to laugh with, someone to listen, someone to . . . whatever their need might be.

My grandma had a great gift of making sure no one went away from her table — or house — hungry. Many times she would go to the garden and fill a bag with fresh vegetables for someone to take home. Empty cereal boxes would be filled with fresh-picked berries and nothing in her cupboard was hoarded.

We all can know what our gifts are, if we really want to know — because once we know, we have no excuse for not giving.

The other part of John’s verse says we are to love in truth. Don’t tell someone you love them if you don’t really mean it. Empty words are easily discerned, because they are hollow and easily shattered. We can’t tell someone we love them, then ignore them until the next accidental meeting.

Love is more than a feeling; it is an action word, and volumes could be written about that. But as Valentine’s Day approaches, think about the people you say you love. Is the love you profess to have the truth? Then make sure you let loved ones know. We have 25 days to prepare our valentine gifts — whether the gift is a simple but sincere card, a phone call, a text message or maybe even a gift.

Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

p p p

Thought for the week — Every moment matters.

Recommended for you

Trending Food Videos