I grew up in a family that seldom expressed love. Rarely did we say “I love you” or give one another a hug. We hid our emotions rather than express them.

I do not resent how I grew up. I knew my mom and dad loved me regardless of their lack of expression. My mom was always in my life and my dad worked hard to provide what we needed. They were at my ball games and we spent many vacations together and had lots of fun. I would much rather be part of a family that shows love than only talks about love. 

Yet, when my father was diagnosed with cancer and knew he had a limited time, he started doing something uncharacteristic. He looked at us in the eye and with all his emotion said, “I love you.” The impact was overwhelming. Coming from a man who did not show affection, it broke our hearts. 

I think my dad realized he needed to say what was on his heart. He wanted us all to know how much he loved us. Often, the last words of a person are words of affection and love. I am working on being better at expressing my emotions. The instruction of Paul is very helpful.

Paul concludes his first letter to the church in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 16. In no other letter does Paul end with a statement of his love. “My love by with you all in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 16:24). His expression of love was profoundly needed in fractured Corinth. Paul had been stern with the believers, but he closed his letter by assuring them of his love. 

In 1 Corinthians 16, Paul talks about expressing love. The best way to truly communicate love to others is through personal presence, a warm greeting, and proper touch.

Personal Presence

Paul wanted to visit the people at the Corinthian church. He said, “I will come to you… it may be I will abide with you… I will not see you now… but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permits.” (1 Cor. 16:5-7). Though he wrote a long letter to the people, he still wanted to see them face to face.

Even though we can send letters and cards, call or text, and make many other social media connections, there’s nothing like really being with someone you love. There is no substitute for hanging out with your friends and family.

Sometimes just showing up in someone’s life is important. Many times we are with someone who is going through a hard time and we do not know what to say. But just being with them and letting them know you care may help them more than you realize. The gift of time and personal presence is invaluable. Parents, do not allow your job or your hobby to rob your children of your time.

Warm Greeting

Five times in three verses Paul uses the word for ‘welcome’ or ‘greet.’ Read what he says….

  • The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. (1 Cor. 16:19a)
  • Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord (1 Cor. 16:19b)
  • All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. (1 Cor. 16:20a)
  • Greet one another with a holy kiss. (1 Cor. 16:20b)
  • I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. (1 Cor. 16:21)

It’s important to recognize people by connecting with them. Send a note or text to let people know you think about them.

One of the best things we can do is simply talk to other people. Have you ever walked by someone and said “Hi” and they just ignored you? Don’t be that person. Even if you don’t have time for a long conversation, when you pass someone simply say “Hi.” It might make their day.

In our modern day with smart phones and computers, we are more connected yet less isolated than ever before. We can have hundreds of Facebook friends but not one real friend. Don’t let technology keep you away from making connections with people around you.

Put your cell phone away, notice the people around you, open your mouth and have a friendly conversation. You can show affection and care for others by talking with them.

Proper Touch

The Apostle Paul commanded Greet one another with a holy kiss (1 Corinthians 16:20). Throughout history, a kiss has demonstrated love and greeting. Much like a modern handshake, a kiss is still used as a common greeting in many countries. 

But it would be inappropriate to “greet one another with a kiss” in American society. I’m sure this greeting would cause some very uncomfortable situations and possibly sexual harassment charges. However, research has indicated that we all need proper displays of affection. So though we may not give each other a kiss, a proper nonsexual display of affection can be exactly how we can show our affection and care for another.

Maybe you could try a pat on the back, handshake, fist-pump or a simple hug. In fact, proper affection to children can make them feel secure and builds confidence and self-esteem.

Do those you love know that you love them? Express your love through actions and words. Actions without words can be misunderstood. Words without actions can be disappointing. Show your love through personal presence, warm greeting, and proper touch.