Love is the force that brings us to life. Knowing you’re beloved of God, forgiven and have forgiven those whose faults you’ve dwelt on, you are free! You are free to love others. Dr. Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages has shed light on love for couples and families. He makes us aware of the differences in how we receive love and how we can better communicate love to one another appreciating our differences. These same love languages speak to those outside of our homes as well. Jesus calls us to love even the “least of my brothers”. We are called to love through compassionate service, even if this is not your native “love language”.
- I am aware of the importance of saying, “I love you.”
- I am aware of the 5 Love Languages and can identify my primary language as well as those closest to me.
- I can expose myself to speaking and understanding all five of the love languages.
- I know the difference between a helper and a servant.
- I can grow as a servant and care of “the least of my brothers.”
- I know the Spiritual and Corporal works of mercy and can discern which of these I am called to do as a servant of God.
Key Learning Points:
- “We love because God first loved us.” 1 John 4:19. We are called to love.
- “Quality time, physical touch, affirmation, receiving gifts, and acts of service are known as the 5 Love Languages that reflect what makes us feel loved.” Gary Chapman
- I need to be aware of how to communicate love to others in ways that are meaningful to them.
- “What we do to others, we do to Jesus.” Matthew 25:40
- There are key differences between a helper and a servant; Jesus calls us to be servants.—see below.
- Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy—see below.
- We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
- For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous*will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:35-40
- Reflect on the 5 Love Languages using the resources below.
- Read the handout on Helpers and Servants and reflect on the differences you’ve encountered.
- Reflect on how you have been called to respond to God’s love by serving others.
- Five Love Languages: Source: Gary Chapman at 5LoveLanguages.com
- Quality time:This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention.
- Physicaltouch: To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch.
- Affirmation: This language uses words to affirm other people.
- Receiving gifts: For some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift.
- Acts of Service: For these people, actions speak louder than words.*
*Though one of the love languages is called “Acts of Service”, we would like to go much farther. Service is a way of living, out of which acts arise. For example, the husband who says, “How can I help you?” on the surface may appear to be thoughtful, but the work being addressed is usually communal responsibility. To offer “help” implies that the work belongs to the wife and the willingness to participate in the task is not seen as taking responsibility for the common good but doing a “favor” for a spouse. The difference between “helping” and “serving” are significant:
|Ego—the emphasis is on my goodness||Equality—the emphasis is on common good|
|Task—completing the job at hand is the priority||Person—the ability to meet people’s needs & develop their abilities to meet their own needs is the priority|
|Excuses—the other’s challenges dismiss them from responsibility—victim mentality||Expectations—despite challenges the other can achieve—victor mentality|
|Flattery—generalized praise not based on merit and often results in quantity not quality||Affirmation—acknowledging observed accomplishments and skills—results in quality over quantity|
The phrase used by those who work in social justice, “preferential option for the poor” means that those who are poor receive priority. Poverty can be economic, spiritual, emotional, social, those who are marginalized for any reason.
- Works of Mercy. The Corporal & Spiritual Works of Mercy are actions we can perform that extend God’s compassion & mercy to those in need. The Corporal Works of Mercy are kind acts by which we help our neighbors with their material and physical needs. The Spiritual Works of Mercy are acts of compassion by which we help our neighbors with their emotional and spiritual needs.
|Corporal Works of Mercy tend to bodily needs of others.||Spiritual Works of Mercy tend to the spiritual needs of others|
|feed the hungry||instruct|
|shelter the homeless||advise|
|clothe the naked||console|
|visit the sick and imprisoned||comfort|
|bury the dead||forgive|
|give alms to the poor||bear wrongs patiently|
- Make a Choice: Once we are aware of the needs of another we can choose to:
- neglect, ignore, fail to respond
- abuse use a “language”: words, touch, gifts to exploit and demean or
- meet them, respond with concern and action.
Exercises for Older Teens and Adults:
- Living the Questions:–Break into three groups to discuss these questions for 20 to 30 minutes. Each group should come up with a way (skit, art, story, or song) to represent what they’ve discussed. Gather as a whole and share each group’s presentation.
- What would the World be like without love?
- Would you exist? Why do you exist?
- Tradition states that we exist to know, love and serve God. How do you know, love and serve God?
- Five Love Languages
- Share why an awareness of the 5 Love Languages helps us to better communicate love.
- Show short videos for each love language to help students experience the meaning of each.
- Have each student answer the questionnaire (for children) to determine his or her primary “Love Languages”
- Are you a helper or a server? Ask who is here to help? When they raise their hands ask then to leave.
- Jesus asks us to be servants not helpers. Use the service handout and walk through the differences.
- Go through the Works of Mercy. Which of these would you be willing to do? Have you done?
- Review Make a Choice. Which of the works of mercy have you neglected? Abused? Responded to?
Exercises for Younger Teens (13-16):
- Same as above
Questions to Encourage Critical Thinking:
- What is your primary love language?
- Are you a helper or a servant?
- What works of mercy are you involved in?
Tools and Templates:
- Mercy is loving kindness, compassion.
- 4 Things that Matter Most by Ira Byock
- Quality Time: “Technology cannot replace love!”, These Elderly Folks Were Just Schooled By A Bunch Of Teens, And It’s About Time
- Physical Touch: Dacher Keltner on Touch & Science of Touch: Power to Communicate
- Affirmation: Kind words Happy Winds
- Receiving Gifts:
- Service: Acts of Kindness
- “The human spirit is not measured by the size of the act, but by the size of the heart.” Yakov Smirnoff
Summary 2-page Lesson Examples:
- None at this time.