Non-English Speakers and the Gospel of Love

At work I get to talk to people from all over the world who now speak English as their second language. I don’t understand why some people complain about talking with someone who speaks English with an accent. Every single one of them speaks English better than I speak their first language. I think it’s impressive.

ESL and Me

What language do we have for the gospel, though? We must have a way to communicate God’s love and not keep it to ourselves. Do we insist that people learn our language so they can understand us, or do we learn to speak a language they already understand?

I think the gospel has its own language, one that transcends all languages. It’s the language of love, the one Jesus was talking about when he said:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35.)

This love is for everyone you meet today:

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:10.)

So let there be a language you speak fluently, one that everyone understands, the language of the love of Jesus. That is the gospel of love.

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9 Responses to Non-English Speakers and the Gospel of Love

  1. Pastor Bob says:

    SOME words are lost in pronunciation, and if the right combination of is-pronounced words gets misunderstood, communication has failed.

    As one who failed only one class in college (Spanish) learning archaic German phrases (more on that another time) I married someone who spoke English as a third language and Spanish as a first.

    We have never stopped learning about our alternative languages.

    LOVE (agape, storge, filieo) or amor, liebe, or even kjærlighet – are are doing our best to show a sacrificial concern and caring for others?

    Accents are like music, they variations on the English can beautiful.

    • Tim says:

      “Accents are like music, they variations on the English can beautiful.”

      So true, PB. That is one of the joys of listening to someone speak English as a foreign language.

  2. Just emailed this to my girlfriend who is working in Thailand with rescued girls. She struggles with the Thai language, but speaks ‘Love’ fluently! 🙂

  3. Laura Droege says:

    Beautiful. Yesterday we had a guest preacher who was from India. His accent was fairly strong, but I’ve learned that if I turn on my “ESL teacher/listener” switch, I remember my wonderful ESL students, my brain falls into the speaker’s rhythms and accents, and then I understand quite well! My teenager had a similar experience. One of her teachers is from Korea and speaks with a strong Korean accent. Because my child has become accustomed to hearing her teacher’s accent, and she knows and loves her teacher, it’s given her the ability to understand other accents. (She said she wished he would speak every week. “He’s actually interesting, Mom!”) All of that wasn’t quite on point with your point, but I thought I’d share.

  4. This is really great! My son is autistic and nonverbal so the language of love is a must in our house, along with a little ASL 😉

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