By Edward Short
Mr. Lee, a seventy year old friend of mine, recently sent an email to some of his friends, including me. His wife was very ill and the physicians could not determine the reason, so Mr. Lee’s friends prayed for her and sent messages of reassurance. My friend is a Chinese from Malaysia, however he left Malaysia and immigrated to North American many years ago. He is an extrovert so he has friends everywhere! Now his wife is ill, so many people wrote emails and expressed their concern.

My friend’s older sister telephoned from Malaysia to ask about his wife and to offer encouragement and comfort. After she heard the latest developments about her sister-in-law directly from the mouth of her brother, she said: “Don’t forget! You are my little brother and I love you!” Later, as he thought about his sister’s words, he said, “I stopped for a moment as my older sister’s words entered the depths of my heart. That beautiful sentence had just crossed over the great Pacific Ocean, and it gave me great joy; tears of thanksgiving fell from my eyes!”

Why? Because this was the first time in the entire life of my friend that he had heard from a relative the words “I love you.”

I don’t know whether you felt as sad as I when you heard the true story that I just told you. Perhaps you can’t understand my reaction. Perhaps in all your life you too have never heard those three sweet words, “I love you!” Perhaps you have never allowed these words to flow through your own lips either! If so, and to me, this is very sad indeed!

Maybe your reaction is, “Edward Short, you don’t understand. We don’t speak those three words, but we use our actions to express our love to others.” That’s good! Actions are good! We should do such. However, let me urge you to put this sentence on your lips and use it to encourage your relatives, children, wife, husband, parents and others!

Do I have this viewpoint because I’m a Christian? Perhaps so. The Bible tells the world that the God who created all things loves us. Jesus said: I love you and I will give my life for you (John chapter 10; 1 Peter 2:21-25). The Bible also tells Christians to love one another (John 15:12, 17). Love is one of the bases of Christianity (Romans 5:5, 8).

I have another Chinese friend who has lived in the USA for a long time. Both he and his wife speak fluent English. Deep in his heart my Christian friend would like to tell his wife that he loves her. But how unfortunate! The words are in his heart but he can’t bring himself to bring them to his mouth! But he continued to try. One day as I walked down the hall and passed his office, he was talking to his wife on the phone. The conversation was about to end just as I got to his door and I heard him switch from speaking in Chinese to talking in English! He told her: “I love you,” and then he hung up.

I chuckled to myself but I was very happy! Later I encouraged him, “Not bad, not bad! You still can’t say “I love you” in Chinese but you can say it in English! Not bad at all! Little-by-little, you’ll do it!”

Perhaps you too need to do it little-by-little, but I hope you’ll try. I hope you’ll say to your spouse: “I love you!”

My other friend waited seventy years before he heard a blood relative tell him, “I love you!” I hope your relatives don’t have to wait that long!

Even though I’ve never seen you, but because of my Christian faith—my faith in Jesus Christ, and because I’m a child of the God who created humankind, and because that same God loves me, and because Jesus told me to “love others as you love yourself” (Matthew 5:43, 19:19, 22:39, etc), therefore today I very happily tell you: “I love you!”

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