“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:10–11 (NIV)
Today is Valentine’s Day, a time to celebrate romantic love with, presumably, cards and candy. It is the culturally appropriate time to buy flowers and make reservations at a fancy restaurant for that special someone. Florists, chocolatiers, Hallmark© stores and high-end eateries are all prepared to assist us in expressing our undying affection for our significant others. It is wonderful that we, as 21st century individuals, encourage the celebration of Valentine’s Day. In a texting and Instagram© world, when we could simply electronically express our sentiment with a simple .gif or ‘1 ❤ U’, actively expressing our love for those dear to us is refreshing.
But what about sharing our hearts tomorrow, or the day after that? Is a box of Russell Stover creams or a dozen long-stemmed roses once a year a suitable expression of our genuine love? Will those we love know that we love them on February 18th or June 3rd? What would the world look like if we celebrated Valentine’s Day consistently throughout the year? What would happen if our ‘public displays of affection’ weren’t calendar-driven but willful and heartfelt? In other words, what if our expression of love imitated the love of our Creator?
Most of those that are reading this know about the Bible’s “Love Chapter” – 1 Corinthians 13. We’ve heard it at weddings and seen it on religious artwork: “Love is patient, love is kind…. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” However there is another chapter of scripture that addresses the subject of love – 1 John 4. There we see the origin of love (the nature of God), the fullest expression of love (Christ’s atoning sacrifice) and the command to love (we ought to love one another in the same manner as God’s love for us). It is apparent that God’s love is not solely expressed in the middle of February.
So, what would it look like if we loved like God? We would give those we love our word and we would then keep our word. We would give those we love that which is most precious to us without reservation or regret. We would freely forgive those we love and then choose to no longer remember their offenses. We would be generous and gracious toward those we love. We would equip and encourage those we love so that they can be and do all that they were created to accomplish. We would make our relationship with those we love THE priority for our lives and determine to never leave or forsake them.
I hope that you have a joyous and happy Valentine’s Day. I hope that you have a ‘special someone’ with whom you can spend the day. If you find yourself alone, remember that there is someone who has said to you, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” – and He loves you very much!