Which means, “I love you!” in the beautiful language I’m trying so hard to learn—Swedish. This will be one of the native tongues for my second grandchild, as her wonderful Pappa is Swedish, and they are soon to be living there.
As a point of connection, (and, as a grandmother, when you live as far away as I do, you actively seek points of connection), I’m investing some time in this little project. She’ll know English also, but she’ll have fun giggling at her “mormor”, (the Swedish name for maternal grandmother), as I stumble through and unintentionally desecrate an otherwise delightful sounding language.
It was important, however, to learn first things first, and “Jag älskar dig!” was at the top of the list.
That’s something I want her to know before she even knows what it means. I even had to learn the pronunciation; in my fluent Midwestern, it’s not at all what it looks like! Phonetically, it’s more like “ya ale-ska day”. (See? Now you know some Swedish!)
The Swedes also have letters in their alphabet that were left out of my ABC song in kindergarten: å,ä,ö and the like (which I think are pretty cool). Then there are the sounds that tie my decidedly American tongue into knots, like “sj” and “kj”. Yeah, I continue to pretty well botch those, but a gracious Swede will still get my point, at least by context.
Which makes me seriously consider the language of Heaven, of God Himself.
I’m not referring to how He speaks to us, how He gets through to us individually, which is very important of itself. Our creative Father has all kinds of ways of doing that. The issue here is the actual language of God, the main what of His communication.
Which is love.
Now there’s a word that’s been maligned and misinterpreted by my native tongue in oh! so many ways. That unfortunate point does not, however, give me license to ignore the fact that LOVE is the true language of God.
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
At some point (preferably earlier than later) I must come to grips with the idea that I don’t know God’s language. Not really. Not intrinsically. It’s a language that, once I’m part of His family, I have to apply myself to learn. Invest the time. Practice. Take advantage of emersion experiences. Learn the culture. New words, new verb tenses, new sounds that my heart isn’t used to pronouncing.
It’s a process.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
There’s a perversion of this process (after all, we have an enemy that perverts anything he can get his gnarly fingers on) working hard to turn my progress into a cult, or at least a religious legalism that fits into the “kills, steals and destroys” category. But then, there’s usually danger lurking around anything of true value. Recognizing the perversion is just another reason for knowing the real thing.
One of the fundamental lessons in this is the authority of the Bible, and what it says about my identity in Christ before God. What does God think about me, or does He even think about me in particular? We all have days when hiding under a rock sounds pretty good, times when my faith seems like a joke and I’ll just never change.
I absolutely love this piece from the movie, The Great Wall—
Yep, that’s the language of Hell alright, and it’s up to me whether I will choose to listen. But what does God say?
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
Learning any new language is hard work. God’s language is no different, but to effectively communicate with Him and for Him, it’s not a option.
Jesus älskar dig!
1 Corinthians 13:1; Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 5:17 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved