Jesus is a Love Expert (Part 3)

img_4182Read part 1 about Discovering your child’s love language and Part 2 about Discipline with love languages. Also check out the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell.

Ultimately our example is Jesus. The Bible says “the Lord disciplines those He loves.” So how did Jesus discipline? Two stories stood out to me.

Jesus and the Woman at the Well (found in John 4:1-26, 39-42)

Jesus is passing through Samaria and stops at a well in the middle of the day. A woman happens to be getting water at the same time and Jesus starts a conversation with her. First, we should notice some things: women usually got water in the morning to avoid the heat of midday, so this woman probably wanted to avoid the townspeople. She is surprised Jesus is talking to her because not only did men and women not talk to each other much, but Jews and Samaritans didn’t talk to each other.

Jesus asks for water, she’s surprised He’s talking to her and He says you should ask me for living water.  So she does. Jesus says go call your husband. I don’t have one, she says. Jesus says that’s true you’ve had 5 plus the man you live with now is not your husband. Probably feeling convicted or guilty, she tries to change the focus of the conversation by acknowledging Jesus must be a prophet, and asking him a controversial question about where people should worship. Jesus says a time is coming when the place you worship doesn’t matter, because we will worship in spirit and in truth. Finally she asks about the Messiah and Jesus says I am He.

The woman leaves her bucket and immediately runs into the town to tell the people about Jesus. Many of them become believers. They hear Jesus teach and they tell the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

What Love Language did Jesus use? Quality Time. He spent time with this woman – probably something she was craving. We know she had been bouncing from relationship to relationship with six men. She avoided the townspeople because they probably gossiped about her. Jesus spent time with her and the result was that she believed, she told the town, and many others believed in Jesus.

Jesus and the Woman Caught in Adultery (found in John 8:1-11)

Jesus is teaching in the temple court and a crowd of people are gathered around Him. The religious leaders & Pharisees interrupt and bring in a woman caught in the act of adultery and ask Jesus “In the law, Moses says to stone such women. What do you say?” They were trying to trick Jesus so they could accuse him.

Jesus seemingly ignores them, bends down and starts writing in the dirt with his finger. These men keep badgering him “what do we do? She was caught in the act!” Finally, Jesus stands up and says “whoever has not sinned can cast the first stone.”

We don’t know what Jesus was writing. We can pretty much assume if this woman was “caught in the act” then she’s not wearing much clothing if any. So when Jesus bends down to write in the sand, where does everyone look? Do they look at the woman? No they’re looking at what Jesus is writing. They want to know what his answer is.

Was Jesus making a list of sins in the dirt? This woman did something wrong, but so did the men who caught her. Probably so did the town. Maybe Jesus is writing “Gossip. Lust. Jealousy. Anger. Malice. Hate.” Slowly one by one the crowd walks away.

Jesus asks the woman, “has no one condemned you?” No. “Then neither do I. Go and leave your life of sin.”

Jesus showed some love languages here: Acts of Service by protecting the woman from this angry crowd, Gifts of mercy and grace, Words of Affirmation. He showed her she wasn’t alone in sinning.

Then Jesus gives her a command. He doesn’t make a request, Would you please leave your sinful life? No, He makes a command and tells her “Go and leave your life of sin.” But because He has shown such love to her, she is more likely to listen, isn’t she?

Jesus was perfect and lived a sinless life. He could have condemned that woman. But He chose to give her grace. We are not perfect. I hate to break it to you friends, but you are not perfect. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. And our children are sinners in need of a Savior. God has entrusted dither to us so we can discipline them – train them in the way they should go. May we demand less perfection and show more grace.

I’m a Discipline Expert (part 2)



From my childhood. 4 years old.

Now maybe you think I’m speaking this week because I’m an expert at discipline and love languages. But actually there was just an opening in the schedule. This chapter was hard! I find myself thinking in a totally different way than before. Perhaps you grew up similar to me, where if you did something wrong you were spanked, sent to your room, or couldn’t go out with friends on the weekend. My parents actually don’t remember me ever doing anything wrong as a child, but unfortunately that obedience was not hereditary. Everyone makes mistakes, and this chapter gives some great insight.

[Did you read Part 1 about Discovering your child’s Love Language?]

We must keep the child’s love tank full, BEFORE we administer discipline.

Spanking, time-outs, etc, are actually considered punishment, which is a form of discipline but it is the most negative. Discipline actually means to train.

The main cause of misbehavior in our children is an empty emotional (love) tank. You can’t demand good behavior from a child who doesn’t feel loved. The second cause of misbehavior is a physical problem. The younger the child, the more true this is, right? For some of us, it is obvious when it’s nap time, or when the child hasn’t had a snack. Misbehavior still isn’t acceptable even if your son is hungry or tired, but the problem can be quickly relieved.

A question to ask yourself before disciplining your child: does my child feel sorry for what he has done? If there is genuine repentance, then there is no need to proceed further. He has learned and repented. At that point, punishment could be destructive.

That helps us understand why our kids misbehave, but we still want kids who are behaving well so the book lists 5 ways to control your child’s behavior:

  • Make requests: this shows you respect his feelings, you believe he is smart enough to form an opinion, your expect him to take responsibility.
  • Issuing Commands: more forceful than requests; this disregards a child’s opinion and feelings, not giving responsibility to them. The more you use authoritarian techniques such as commands, scolding, nagging, screaming, the LESS effective you become.
  • Gentle Physical Manipulation: move the 3 year old. When you are saying “time to come inside” and they are saying no, no no, just take their hand and move them gently.
  • Punishment: Make sure it fits the crime, be consistent, be appropriate. In order to do these things you need to plan ahead. 
  • Behavior Modification: Positive reinforcement – reward for appropriate behavior (piece of candy)
    • Negative reinforcement – take away a positive element from child’s environment (take away TV time)
    • Punishment – Place negative element in child’s environment (send to his room)
    • Don’t overuse or child won’t feel loved, he will think love is conditional

Don’t use a form of discipline directly related to your child’s primary love language.

If your child’s primary love language is Quality Time and you put your child in a Time Out by himself, you are sending a message of painful rejection. Instead consider a “time in” where you sit with him, talk about what went wrong and how to do things differently.

If your child’s love language is words of affirmation and you speak harshly, you are sending a message of rejection. And remember if they don’t feel loved the discipline isn’t effective.

Thanks for reading Part 1 and Part 2 of my talk, but my favorite part is coming up. How did Jesus discipline? Check back tomorrow for some examples of how Jesus showed love through these love languages.

I’m a Love Expert

Not really. Not at all. But I did recently speak about Love Languages at my moms group Bible study. We are reading The 5 Love Languages for Children (by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell) and I had the privilege of speaking on chapters 7 and 8 – discovering your child’s love language and discipline with love languages. These were weighty chapters with lots of great information. First, if you aren’t familiar with the 5 Love Languages, these charts might help.

You might be wondering WHY? Why do we need to know what our child’s primary love language is? Well, we all need love expressed in each of these ways, but each of us has a primary “language” of how we feel emotional love. These Love Languages provide great insight into how our children think and behave. 

When your child feels loved, when her emotional tank is full, she will be more responsive to parental guidance in all areas of her life. She will listen without resentment. (P. 109)

Learn all five love languages, practice all five, but specialize in the one primary language for each of your children. However, know that it can change, especially in adolescence. Use the Primary Love Language when your child is discouraged or feeling distant, so you can show them emotional love.

  • 5 ways to Discover:
    • Observe how your child expresses love to you;
    • Observe how your child expresses love to others;
    • Listen to what your child requests most often.
      • Examples: If your child is saying: look what I’m doing, come play outside, sit & read a book, then they are asking for Quality Time.
      • If your child is asking what do you think of the paper I wrote, do you like my outfit, how did I do in the game, they are asking for Words of Affirmation.
    • Notice what your child most frequently complains about;
    • Give your child a choice between two options. Examples pages 116-117.

The authors also suggest you conduct a 15 week experiment where you focus on each love language for a couple weeks. If you’re doing that, then you must really love your child. Who has that kind of time?! Just kidding. Some of you have already started your 15 week experiment and that is awesome! Report back to us in March about how that went (ha!).

Next, how to Discipline your child in relation to their love language. But you’ll have to come back tomorrow.