Jolene asked her grandmother a question that the elderly woman would remember for the rest of her life.
As part of her church training, the young girl had been memorizing the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20. She learned they had been rendered in stone by God’s own hand. But when she got to #7, she was confused.
Why would God use a weird word I don’t understand? Isn’t the Bible supposed to be a book for all ages?
That’s when she asked her grandmother the red-faced question.
“What is adultery?”
Grandma, mother of eight grown children, stammered and stuttered. She finally choked out, “You’d better ask your mom and dad.”
Her question to her mom and dad brought just as much blushing. She tried her church teacher.
When she did find out, Jolene was astonished to learn that men and women had intimate physical contact and that’s how they had children. And seeking out a partner for intimacy outside of the marriage is adultery, whether before or during marriage. God commanded loyalty to him and to each other. He never advised unmarried couples to give each other an apartment key as a sign of love and commitment. God endorses the marriage commitment with key exchange and pillow talk to follow.
Still Jolene wondered, Love? What does it look like? Is it a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day?
At that point in her life, Jolene had only seen an era of parents, grandparents and great grandparents who never kissed, hugged or held hands in public.
They stayed together. They were faithful. Did they love each other?
Jolene never heard them say, “I love you” to each other – or to her or other their family members.
Yet, in word, thoughts, compassion and actions, Grandma and each other family member modeled the love of Christ. Grandma had tenderly cared for Grandpa until his death. Her homemade bread gave the house a “welcome home” fragrance. She made quilts for each bed. Grandma made every birthday remembrance special. That love didn’t stop over the decades.
When Jolene was grown, married, and expecting twins, Grandma commented, “Well, I declare! I need to make another baby quilt for my grandbabies!”
Grandma was love in action.
True love comes down to showing love by what we do. It’s not just what it takes to get by, but investing that which takes time, effort, and sometimes sacrifice. “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…” [Ephesians 5:2]
And that kind of love sprinkled with genuine “I love you”s tops any box of chocolates.
[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]