How Can I Say I Care?
Rev. Robert Fleischmann, National Director, Christian Life Resources
The feisty side of me hates the phrase, “I care.” Don’t misunderstand. I am not against saying it. But I object to its use without meaning. It sounds more like a catchy bumper sticker than a genuine word attached to a lifewitnessing practice. “I care” is what one might say when his actions say something else. “I care” sounds like a “feel good” slogan tossed around to increase sales or attention but is hollow in substance.
I contend that we should spend less time reminding people about caring and more time demonstrating it. “Caring” falls into the genre of expressive love. And while words of praise and admiration are often couched in the expression of love, it is the actions which tell the story.
The Biblical testimony is saturated with a definition of love not expressed only by words but with actions. Look at the love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13. There love is described with action words: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Jesus correlated love with the greatest of sacrifices: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) The Apostle John went beyond the poetic and verbal expressions of love when he encouraged: “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)
And if there is any doubt about caring being a critical component of the Christian persona, consider the words of Christ describing the last day: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)
From the day I first heard about the abortion issue I was never content to just point out the error. If I really cared for the unborn and their mothers I needed to translate words into action. That is what we all do at Christian Life Resources. While it is easy to love those who love us back, in this work we must invest our love by caring for those who cannot always love us back. Yet, it is clear from the biblical testimony that love and caring are to be shown (but not expected to be returned) because they are expressions of an inner conviction that the cause and the person are important.
On that point, the Apostle John brings the matter to a head when he says: “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) God, in showing love, did more than speak words but went into action by offering up Jesus, his own son, as our Savior. We love and put love into action because we know what it is to be on the receiving end of such love. Wasn’t that the point of the story of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:23ff)? Can we who know such love and care be any less loving?
As former spiritual abortions because of sin, we are the beneficiaries of God’s divine love and care. Each word of counsel, each decision we make in our work, each dollar we share for the cause is our way of saying “thank you” to God for caring for us. I may never hear the words “I care” from the lips of you, our faithful Christian Life Resources volunteers, but I see it in your actions. As the Apostle Paul admonishes all of us, (Galatians 6:9) “Let us not become weary in doing good.” Remain faithful and persistent for it is plain to see that you care!