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Wednesday, February 14, 2018


It's Valentine's Day, a day we've decided will be aimed at celebrating "love". I put it in quotes because, of course, I'm not at all sure that we even know what that is anymore. I think we've shifted. To illustrate, walking through the mall the other day I saw Victoria Secret's ad in their window: "It's V-Day Me-Day!" That's about where we've come to.

Some women, as they age, decide "It's time for a baby in my life." Why? Not because of an overwhelming desire to love a child, but more often from a deep desire to be loved. Guys woo girls, offering them romance and heartwarming words. Why? Not because of a deep desire for her best, but more often from a deep desire for her body. We can't seem to distinguish between "love" and "sex", as if the two are inseparable. (Of course, if you "love" your mother or your kids like that, you can and should expect jail time.)

We know that whole 1 Corinthians 13 thing. Even unbelievers have quotes from it on inspirational art and such. But how many of us actually think of love as related to these descriptions? "Patient and kind." Really? "Does not boast." Do we agree? "Does not insist on its own way." Come on, do we actually think that way about love. (Think, "If you loved me you would do what I want.") "Not irritable." "Does no rejoice in wrongdoing." These do not describe today's version of "love". But the real killers are those last ones. "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1 Cor 13:7) No ... no it doesn't. Not today. Not in our day. "Love never ends"?? We know that's not the case. Today's divorce rates, even among self-professed Christians, says it does.

Love should be celebrated. Love between a husband and wife -- even in its romantic sense -- practically has its own book of the Bible (Song of Solomon). Love is commanded. (Think about that one for a moment. If love is that "chemistry" thing, an emotion that alters your insides without you even knowing why, or even sexual, in what sense can it be commanded?) The celebration of God's love (John 3:16) is at the core of the Gospel. If only we could get it through our heads that love is outward, not inward. It is aimed at others for their best rather than at ourselves for our pleasure. That kind of love would be the kind to celebrate.

Love is something we give. As it turns out, we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). God, then, is the source of all the love we give. Not that downstream, romantic affection. That's all well and good. I'm not suggesting it's not. But this love, the love from God, is the best, the right, the real love. Imagine, then, what we have available to give in terms of love. We have an abundant source that can't be exhausted. We can give it freely and generously to spouse and sibling, parent and child, family and friends, neighbors, coworkers, classmates, and that barista that gives us our coffee. We can be liberal with it because we can't run out. And I'm talking about the quality stuff, the kind of love that genuinely seeks the best for those around us, starting with the source of that love, our heavenly Father.

That's the kind of love we can celebrate. It rips the covers of "Me-Day", exposing it as no love at all, and cries out for joy at the opportunity to love others with God's unending love. Now that makes for a happy Valentines Day.

1 comment:

Craig said...

At our noon service today, the question was asked (the text was 1 John 4 about God’s love), “What do you get when you remove God from love?”, the answer was “Valentines Day”.