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How is Jesus’ Love Like a Second Language?

less than a min.

Living out the traits Jesus valued usually means saying things that are incredibly difficult to say. Scroll down to learn more.

Arno's Story: Learning to say “I love you.”

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Saying “I love you” and truly meaning it can be hard for so many reasons. Maybe it’s hard because you’re afraid to say something you don’t mean, or maybe it’s hard because to say those words is to make yourself more vulnerable than you’re willing to be. Either way, getting our hearts and our words to align is no small task, but we think doing just that is a big part of what it means to be pure in heart—one of the character traits Jesus calls blessed. It’s not easy, but we think it’s worth it, and Arno’s story is testament to that. Jesus’ love is like a second language. It takes practice.

The loss of my brother really made me reanalyze those three words “I love you”

Scripture References: Matthew 5:8

Mona’s Story: Learning to Say “Goodbye.”

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Goodbyes are hard. Final goodbyes can be devastating. So what was Jesus talking about when he said “Blessed are those who mourn”? We sat down with Mona to talk about grief and goodbyes to see what she’s learned and how she’s grown from her own life experience. It’s a moving story and a testament to the power of learning to love the way Jesus did. His love is like a second language. It takes practice.

It’s okay to mourn; it’s okay to feel those feelings.

Scripture References: Matthew 5:7

Giuliano's Story: Learning to say “I forgive you.”

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Whether your heart language is Italian like Giuliano’s, English, or any other, “I forgive you” can be one of the hardest things to say—especially when it comes to long standing brokenness in family relationships. It can feel almost impossible. But Jesus taught that a merciful life is a flourishing one, so how can we take steps toward learning forgiveness even when it’s hard? Jesus’ love is like a second language. It takes practice.

“I didn’t forgive him, so I don’t know it. Is it fair to forgive him now?”

Scripture References: Matthew 5:7

Mely’s Story: Learning to Say “I Was Wrong.”

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Admitting when we’re wrong is incredibly difficult. It hurts our pride, it empties us. But Jesus praised humility. He said, “Blessed are the meek.” We talked to Mely about the tug-of-war between humility and pride—about balancing perfectionism and our own limitations. Mely discovered something that we think Jesus pointed to—that there is serious strength found in admitting weakness. It’s just not so easy to do because Jesus’ love is like a second language. It takes practice.

Scripture References: Matthew 5:5
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What kinds of traits did Jesus encourage?

There’s a very particular set of verses in the Bible that are commonly known as The Beatitudes, which could be simply called the Blessings. Basically, Jesus was speaking to a crowd on top of a mountain and he started his message with eight statements that follow the format of: “Blessed are the [blank] for they will [blank].” It’s really straightforward stuff, until you start looking at the things that Jesus calls “blessed” and what he means by it.

A big part of what Jesus seems to be really getting at is what it looks like to live a fulfilled life—a thriving life. When he calls a bunch of different character traits blessed he’s saying that the people that embody these traits are people that are flourishing. Well that makes things easy—we just follow a checklist and we’re living our life to the full, right? Well let’s look at the list first. Jesus tells us that those who are poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek, those who are merciful, and those who are persecuted are all people who are flourishing. I don’t know about you, but at first glance that sounds a bit backwards to me. How could it be that mourning equates to flourishing? Or meekness? Or persecution? Well it’s not incredibly obvious at first, but as we started talking to people about these traits, two things started to become clear.

First, as a whole, these traits are difficult to live out. Mourning is a devastating process. Forgiveness and mercy are incredibly difficult to give out. Meekness and humility make us feel weak. These traits are not second nature, they’re more like a second language. Most of us have to learn them and practice them, and we’ll frequently do and say the wrong thing in that learning process. And hear this: that’s totally okay. They are really difficult.

But second, living these traits out is worth it. When is mourning the hardest? For me, it’s been when I’ve lost someone I’ve loved with everything that’s in me. Those who mourn are flourishing because they are the ones approaching relationships the right way—the all-in, selfless, unconditional, Jesus-like way. What about forgiveness? That one is notoriously hard, but when you bring yourself to forgive, you free yourself from having to carry around burdens of hurt and hate. Humility can feel humiliating, but it isn’t an expression of weakness. On the contrary, it’s the strongest and bravest people that are able to freely admit when they are wrong.

You see the traits Jesus valued—mercy, humility, mourning, integrity, peacemaking, to name a few—are all incredibly difficult to live out, but they result in a richness and fullness of life that can’t be found or faked elsewhere. Learning these traits and even learning how to say simple phrases like “I forgive you,” “I love you,” “I was wrong,” or “goodbye” open up a whole new world and way of living. It’s almost like learning a second language. If this language feels new to you and you want to learn more, scroll down to find a few videos that dive a bit deeper into what it means to live those traits out in real life.

Scripture References: Matthew 5:1-10