As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
St. Valentine’s Day falls on Feb. 14 of each year. Although the name is Saint Valentine’s Day, most people refer to the day as Valentine’s Day. It was originally a day to celebrate Saint Valentinus, who performed weddings for soldiers who were not allowed to marry.
He was imprisoned for this, as well as for ministering to Christians. Saint Valentinus wrote a letter to the daughter of his jailer before he was executed. His letter was signed ‘From your Valentine’. He was buried on February 14th. Valentine’s Day was not associated with romantic love until the middle ages. By the 1700s in England it began to resemble the Valentine’s Day we know today. At this time lovers began to express their love with gifts of flowers, candy and cards, which were called ‘valentines’.
February is all about love, and so is Christianity. Jesus did not consider love to be an option, but rather an “ought” for the believer, a command — so you must love one another. It is love that sets us apart from the rest of the world. People do not know we are Christians because we go to church, or listen to Christian music, but rather it is seen in how we love each other.
If the fruit of love never shows up in our life then “we do not know God.” (1John1:8) So vital is love to the life of the believer the Apostle John stated, If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
Why are we to love others? The Bible says, “We love because He [Jesus] first loved us.” He loved us and chose us in Christ before the creation of the world. He loved us when we did not deserve to be loved (which is most of the time). While we were still sinners, Christ died on the cross for our transgressions. Greater love has no man than he lay down his life for his friends.
What does it mean to love someone? The Apostle Paul best answers that question in 1Corinthians 13. He writes, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (1Cor. 13:4-5) Anytime our attitude and actions, our words and deeds, do not reflect or match the definition listed, we are not showing love to the other person.
Who are we to love? We are to love “one another”; we are to “love our neighbors as ourselves”(Matthew 5:43); we are called to “love our enemies.” (Matthew 5:44) And, as if we needed a reminder, twice the Apostle calls husbands to “love their wives.” (Ephesians 5:25 and Colossians 3:19) No one is to be left outside the scope of the love of God.
Today who is God calling you to love? to be patient with? to forgive the wrong done? to do a kind deed towards? February is the month of love but don’t let it stop there, “….live a life of love just as Christ loved us….” (Ephesians 5:2)