Ramblings From the Pastor
February is the month stores try to pull on our heart strings, and our wallets, to persuade us to buy cards, chocolates,
flowers, or even jewelry to express our love. Americans spend some $19 billion every year on Valentine’s Day gifts. I love my wife and I don’t need TV commercials to convince me to purchase flowers or chocolates for her. Now, I admit I don’t buy Diane gifts as often as I used to. But in my defense, my sensible, budget-conscious wife long ago told me we have enough stuff, and asked me not to buy those kinds of gifts. To express our love, not just when Cupid reaches for our wallet, we often ask for an extended hug. So this is not about a guy who is too cheap to buy his wife gifts. It is to say that Christians should define love from a biblical perspective, rather than the world’s viewpoint. Those who profit from Valentine’s Day want us to believe that love is some kind of vaguely mushy, warm, fuzzy feeling that can be purchased, or at least enhanced, with a gift. According to TV commercials, we can “fall” in love with an attractive, wealthy mate if we have the right perfume or cologne, wear the right clothes, or drive the right car. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing necessarily wrong with warm, fuzzy feelings. In fact, I recommend it! But real love is an action that can’t be purchased. One biblical definition for love is from 1 Corinthians 13: “Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. Love never comes to an end.” A few definitions I like from the Urban Dictionary include: “Love isn’t when you depend on them and your whole life revolves around them. Love is when they are a perfect addition to your life.” “Love doesn't make everything else seem perfect. It makes everything else bearable and manageable.” “Love is when they help you grow as a person, and make you a better person, and feel better about yourself and life in general.” Now, let me emphasize, these are hallmarks of healthy relationships. However, physically, emotionally abusive relationships are not healthy. And while relationships can often be saved, it takes desire and effort. Love is an action. It requires work. Remember, you said, “To have and to hold, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part…” It’s easy to love when everything is going well. But what about during emotional rough patches, or when they need you to stop talking and really listen, or are sick and helpless and depend on us for care? Real love happens when we are not very lovable, and you love us anyway. The Prophet Hosea told about extreme ways God calls us to love selflessly. Each time Gomer left Hosea under what were certainly unpleasant circumstances, God commanded him to go to bring, and even buy her back. Real love is a lifelong, selfless commitment; not a relationship you leave when it’s no longer convenient. Real love is about growing in relationship together. Many times, however, that’s not the world’s view. So, on Valentine’s Day, I suggest that you buy a card, a box of chocolate or flowers, or, if you’re so inclined, maybe even jewelry, as one way to show that you care for your significant-other. But I also suggest you demonstrate your love with everyday actions! Read Scripture to discover the best examples and definitions for real love. Learn to understand what real love is all about, not what the world believes. Maybe the best gift you can give is to show your love 365 days a year! Love selflessly, the same way that Christ loves His church.
Blessings in Jesus the Christ!
Rev. Jerald E. Turner