The service of sharing from the heart
God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
- Philippians 1:8
Why does Paul care that his friends know his affection for them?
Paul didn’t seem like a cuddly, fluffy guy. He could be combative, sarcastic, and blunt. There’s a story about him preaching for so long that a young man fell asleep, fell out of a window, and died. Paul raced down and prayed for the young man and he returned to life. Then, Paul went back to preaching.
This doesn’t seem like the sort of person who would go out of his way to communicate his affection. And this has troubled certain scholars. Some people think Paul wrote about his affection because his friends had just given him a financial gift. Others think that someone other than Paul wrote this letter. But we wonder if there might not be another explanation.
Some of us are not particularly comfortable talking about our feelings. Others of us just gush, sharing so often that we never actually share deeply. But wherever you are on that spectrum, there’s something powerful that happens when we pull our affection into our awareness and communicate it to another person.
Life tries to tell us that we’re of little worth. We know our own sinfulness better than anyone else. We try to earn affection, but if we have to perform for it, is it really given to us or only to the stage version of us, our false-selves?
You have the gift of affection dwelling inside you. There’s someone – perhaps many someones – of whom you are very fond. It won’t be easy to tell them how you feel.
But you can do it. Try. Write a note. Send a text. Walk over. Give it a try.
You can’t control how they respond. They may say “Thanks” or “Back at ya” or “New phone. Who dis?” or “Me know that!” But you can give this gift.
Who is the Lord prompting you to reach out to today?