He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009 

I Love You

1 John 4:8 – “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

In my language class one day I was shocked to learn that Japanese simply do not say to one another, “I love you.” Surely a husband and a wife do, right? I was told, “no.” Then only parents and children? I was told, “rarely.”

I thought my teacher must be wrong. So I asked my language partner. He concurred. I asked my Japanese friends, they all agreed. After many conversations on the topic I came to understand that the Japanese think this is too rare and too special a feeling to say often or ever. I began to realize how I often I say things like, “I love pizza,” “I love college football,” or “I love to read.” It does distort the depth of meaning so that when I say it with meaning to a loved one, I could understand if my words fail to communicate the true definition of what I am hoping to express.

But I fear the Japanese go too far when children rarely if ever hear from their parents, “I love you.” Husbands and wives and life-long friends may never hear this from one another either.

So you can imagine how foreign an idea it is to a Japanese when you tell them that “God loves them,” or that “God is love,” or that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son,” or that “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Pray that the love of God would break through the stoic façade that Japanese have placed over themselves to conform to cultural standards and that His irresistible grace would pursue them until they are His beloved children.

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