Apologies for the delay this morning. My office computer decided to be uncooperative; maybe it’s because it’s getting so warm outside. The weather folks are saying it should be 70 by the end of the week, but I don’t trust it. We shall likely plunge back down into subzero temperatures before the winter is through.
So . . . . today is Valentine’s Day. I’m not sure about its history. I should probably do some research on it because I’m not sure where it came from — and I’m not sure about the history about Cupid, though I would be very interested to find out if he’s always been represented as a naked baby who flies around shooting people with arrows of love. I find it quite silly, really.
It’s amazing to me that the world always finds a way to cheapen things that should remain expensive. Like Love. Love is expensive, but the commercialism of Valentine’s Day has reduced it to animalistic instincts in a heart-shaped box full of chocolates. I’ve never understood Valentine’s Day, though, because I’ve never had a “Valentine.” So maybe I shouldn’t talk about things I don’t understand.
But it seems to me that if you’re in a relationship, demonstrating your love shouldn’t be a once-a-year kind of thing. It should be an every day kind of thing. And it shouldn’t be about giving chocolates or candies or flowers or cardboard Batman Valentine cards; it should be about something deeper that those things might just happen to represent (like the Batman Valentine cards; aren’t those the epitome of true love? I’ve always thought so . . . . ). I guess what I’m saying is that Love is so much deeper than a single commemorative day.
Love is the most expensive gift there is, and it seems wrong to only celebrate it on one day, especially if it doesn’t leave that day. I never liked getting Valentine’s Day cards from people who I didn’t know well because I didn’t know them. And they didn’t mean anything. I can tell you the one Valentine’s Day present I received that made an impression on me, though.
A young man gave me a rose on Valentine’s Day once. He was much younger than me, but I still appreciated it. Not because it was a beautiful red rose and not because he was a boy. I appreciated it and I still remember it because this young man was my friend and I loved him (and he still is and I still do; Paco, you know who you are), and he made a habit of being my friend.
Love isn’t a spur of the moment thing. It’s not something that you feel for a few moments and then don’t feel anymore. It’s something that you feel deeply and in response to that feeling, you act. In response to that feeling, you live a certain way that shows everyone that you Love somebody.
This young man was my friend. He had already proven himself to be my friend, and anything he did for me or gave to me already represented a friendship that pre-existed. In comparison, a gift from someone else I didn’t know was just an item. Just something they handed to me to make them feel like they had done something for me on Valentine’s Day . . . . or just to participate in an event that everyone else participated in. It didn’t mean anything — not to them and not to me.
Maybe this is a poor illustration, but that’s what I think about when I read the verse for this morning.
34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Love each other.
We’re supposed to love each other.
And, look at this, Christians. Christians are supposed to love Christians.
We’re not so good at that, are we? In fact, some of the meanest, cruelest people I’ve ever met have been professing Christians. I have been hurt the most deeply by people who claimed Christ was their Lord. And I have witnessed some of the most brutal displays of hate committed by people who say they follow Jesus.
How is that possible?
And even those Christians who say they love each other don’t really. To many Christians, they tell people they love them, but do they? Is it real love? Or is it just something to say? Is it just a cardboard Batman Valentine’s Day card? Or is it a sign of something deeper?
If you tell another believer that you love them, do you really? What does that mean to you? Can you back it up? Will you pray for that person? Will you sacrifice for that person? Will you give of your money and your time and your resources to help and encourage that person? If you don’t or you won’t, then you’re a liar.
Love isn’t in gifts.
Love is in action.
So am I saying not to give Valentine’s Day cards? Or chocolates? Or flowers? Absolutely not. Give them out! What I’m saying is that you should make sure there’s something deeper there.
And am I saying that you shouldn’t tell people that you love them? Again, no. What I’m saying is that before you tell someone you love them, make sure you really do. Make sure you really understand what it means to love someone else and make sure that you are willing to follow through with it.