We often speak about wanting to love our children well. We want to model for them how Jesus Christ has loved us. It is only out of that great love that we are able to love our children.
The book, The 5 Love Languages of Children, by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell speaks to the necessity of children being loved well as an essential component of growth and development. It is through 5 distinct love languages, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, and Acts of Service, that we can model for our children how we are loved by Jesus and how they are loved by Jesus. Jesus beautifully modeled each of these forms of love during his earthly ministry, and the Bible recounts just how much he loved in these various ways.
Physical Touch- There are many examples of Jesus miraculously healing people of their physical afflictions from blindness to leprosy to raising the dead to life! However, in John 13, Jesus explicitly expresses his love through the physical touch of washing his disciples feet.
Words of Affirmation- Jesus' words are all through the Gospel accounts, but perhaps his most comforting words were found in the Matthew 28:19-20, when he commissioned his disciples to "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Quality Time- Jesus clearly demonstrated love through quality time with his disciples, taking 12 men and committing more than 3 years of his life to discipling, encouraging, rebuking, teaching, etc. One such example is his Sermon on the Mount teaching to the disciples in Matthew chapters 5-7.
Gifts- Jesus came to take upon himself, the punishment that we deserved for our sin, and subsequently gifting us with his righteousness that is bestowed by God the Father. The Apostle Paul describes this gift of righteousness in Romans 5:17 when he says, "For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
Acts of Service- Jesus expressed his love for his people through giving his life as the ultimate example of sacrifical service. The Apostel Paul beautifully communicates the details of that sacrifice in Philipians 2:7-8 which states, "He emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."
Lord Jesus, thank you for modeling for us how to love perfectly. Thank you for loving us in a way that we are incapable of repeating. May we seek to honor you by loving our children, and in all things, point them to you as the foundational source for love and acceptance.