Love is a Verb

Learn to do good, seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of the orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. {Isaiah 1:17}

Have you ever read something that kind of takes your breath away? This verse…and the few before it…have done that to me this week. I have had to sit and think these words through. It sounds good and easy. But it’s really good…and hard.

Love is a verb. It requires action. Jesus is love. Living a life that follows Him requires action. Sooooo – DOING good, SEEKING justice, HELPING the oppressed, DEFENDING the orphans, and FIGHTING FOR the widows requires our love in action.


I’m not really good at that sometimes. It’s easier for me to sit in my house and pray than it is to step out and do anything. Sometimes. And especially when I don’t even know what to do or how to start. You know? Have you ever felt like that? I do.

Here’s what really gripped me about this verse. It’s the verses leading up to it. And – as you know – I love The Message so I thought I’d see what it has to say. Um…big gulp. It’s kinda…wow.

Quit your worship charades. I can’t stand your trivial religious games: Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings — meetings, meetings, meetings —      I can’t stand one more! Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them! You’ve worn me out! I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion, while you go right on sinning. When you put on your next prayer-performance, I’ll be looking the other way. No matter how long or loud or often you pray, I’ll not be listening. And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing people to pieces, and your hands are bloody. Go home and wash up. Clean up your act. Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings so I don’t have to look at them any longer. Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless.

Have you ever been dressed in your Sunday best, sat in an amazing church service, and then didn’t tip the waitress at the restaurant you ate at afterward or was rude to the cashier at Walmart? I know that’s kind of a lame example, but I think it’s important, too. Sometimes we talk a lot about our love for Jesus…but don’t live out our love for Jesus. I’m totally guilty.

I know this verse is talking about so much more than tips and kind words. And I know sometimes all we know how to do is pray. Keep praying! It’s love in action, too. But, maybe make a meal for a neighbour going through hard times. Maybe go have tea with the woman who just lost her husband. Or maybe help out that single momma by watching her kids for 30 minutes so she can just have a break. Defend the ones that cannot defend themselves. Stand up for right even though it’s hard. It’s always about giving and caring and loving.

And haven’t we been held out a kind hand and had love shown to us in our lifetime? I sure have. I will never forget the days as a single mom when someone showed up at my doorstep with and entire box of food. Especially since the night before I had cried and prayed and asked Jesus to somehow give us milk. And then there was that entire year that a teacher at my daughter’s school put food in her backpack while she was out at recess. Just so we could have more in our cupboard. I have know the love in heartfelt hugs and encouraging conversations. I have had friends stand for me when I was too weak to do it myself. I have been shown sheer grace when I least deserved it. And I never want to forget. Never forget what I have been given. And if it has been given to me when I was in need, then the right thing to do is to give to others when I see those needs.

I have a lot of learning to do. A lot of growing and growing up. I don’t always know the right action steps to take but I am praying that God will show me. I do know, however, that it’s often in the little things that impact the heart the greatest. So we can all do our part. We can all give. We can all show love in action.

{Side bar: now go and google a song by Matthew West called, “Motions”. GAH! So good. You guys know how much I love music too, right?}

I don’t want to live my days talking without action and just going through the motions. I’ve been there, done that. I just want to live a life passionately loving Jesus, loving people and living out that love. Who’s with me?