As we approach the horrible sappiness and excessive expression of emotion and gag-me-with-a-spoon romantic holiday of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to take a few moments of your time to explore what true love is.
In general, I find Valentine’s Day overpriced, over-advertised, and over-done. I eat to much chocolate and get all cynical. And its possible to almost choke! But that story’s for another time because the original story of how the first Valentine’s came to be is a truly sweet story of pure love.
(SPOILER ALERT: True love DOES NOT EQUAL Romantic love)
A long time ago, Emperor Claudius II banned marriage and engagements because he believed that his soldiers would be unwilling to fight for fear of attachment and loved ones left at home. Valentine, a priest, defied this command and kept performing marriages. While he was in prison, waiting for the sentence of execution, he became friends with the jailor’s blind daughter, Julia. Friends– as in a mentor/father-like figure.
Over the course of their friendship, Julia became a Christian and was healed of her blindness. On the day he was to die, Valentine left a good-bye note encouraging Julia and signed it, “From your Valentine.”
Valentine showed what true love was to Julia; he was her friend and cared about her well being despite his circumstances. How did Valentine know what love was?
Love is a decidedly curious and strange emotion. We can feel it for food or clothes, which is pretty shallow in the big scheme of things, or we can feel it for people. The range of nouns we can feel love for is so vast and different that finding the real definition of love is almost impossible. Almost.
1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Right there, we find that God is love.
Because He is love, now I look at 1 Corinthians 13, the universally known love chapter. How about a little of Socrates’ deductive reasoning?
God is love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says what love is. Therefore, it is speaking of the characteristics of God.
“God is patient, God is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. He does not dishonor others, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. He does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails.”
I guess the real question is not “what is love?” but “who is love?”
He is patient and kind when we run around like willful children, intent on getting our way. He chooses to forget how much we hurt Him with our actions and words of anger towards Him. He always protects us, always believes the best of us, and will always accept us whether or not we choose to run back to Him.
God is love.
His love is unconditional. His love is never-ending. His love is pure. Nothing you have ever done or ever will do will make God love you less!
So as we approach this Valentine’s Day, as roses’ thorns prick and balloons pop and candy-grams invade, stop a moment to just realize what perfect love is.
It is not a carriage ride into the sunset with a prince. It is definitely not 50 Shades of Grey. It’s not how much discount chocolate my friends buy me on February 15th.
Perfect Love is God.
Happy Valentine’s Day people.