Flowers, candy, red hearts and romance. That’s what Valentine’s day is all about, right? Well, maybe not. The origin of this holiday for the expression of love really isn’t romantic at all — at least not in the traditional sense.¹
Unfortunately, yes, “flowers, candy, red hearts and romance” is what has become associated with Valentine’s Day, a day supposedly set aside to celebrate Love. Love, without doubt, is the most spoken of subject in the world. Indeed, there is nothing wrong about that. God made it so. That we love one another. We are not islands. We are interdependent. “Everyone needs somebody” is a popular saying and it is true. We all need relationships and friendship. We are interconnected. We are to be each others keeper. We are to bear the burdens of one another:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1Corinthians 13:4-7).
Acknowledging the place of love in our human interactions is a necessary ingredient for peaceful and harmonious living.
However, despite its universality, love can be abused. Human love has its limitations. It can and does fail based on how well we perform according to someone else’s subjective standards. When we make fallible, imperfect humans, the source from which we derive all our emotional well being; then we are unhealthy, vulnerable and heading towards an emotional disaster.
Now, love in its Greek origin carries a number of meanings.
EROS: Intimate, sensual and erotic.
STORGE: Natural affection; love usually shared among family members.
PHILIA: Affection shared purely by friends and can generally be described as platonic.
AGAPE : Unconditional Love.
You will observe immediately that, much of what we refer to as love during this celebration is sadly one sided; Eros, Romance, Feelings and Sensual. In a society fixated with eros, where we draw our cues of love from music, soap operas, and novels, God’s perfect, unconditional love can easily be lost on us. This is an age of sentiments and we can easily confuse God’s love with how good or bad we feel. In the process, we end up defining God’s love by our feelings.
But God’s love is unconditional, it is perfect. God, the Bible tells us is love. Love is not a characteristic of God. God Himself is love. God’s love is Agape love; selfless and unconditional. It is the highest form of love. Agape love is the kind of love God manifested towards us when Jesus left all of His glory, took upon Him the form of man and died the death of wretched sinners (though He was sinless) to reconcile humanity to God (Philippians 2:6-9, 2 Corinthians 5:21 ).
It was love that sent Him to the cross.
Do you need love desperately? Where are you seeking for it? No human, no sexual experience, no entertainment, no drug, no alcoholic beverage, no emotional high, no peer or family provide all of your love needs. If you are a believer, you don’t have to strive for acceptance, you are already accepted in Christ (Ephesians 1:6, Jeremiah 31:3, 2Thessalonians 2:16 , 1John 3:1 ). God’s love is everlasting and nothing can separate us from that love (Romans 8:35 ). You can’t do more or less to be loved by God. You are already loved. Is that a licence to live our lives anyhow? No. However, living on this side of eternity in a fallen human body, we will still battle with sin and if we ever lose a battle against sin, we must never despair that God will take His love away from us. (1John 1:8-9).
Now, if you are not a Christian the love of God will make no sense to you. The vacuum and emptiness in your heart you seek to fill with other things can only be filled by God’s love. That vacuum is a symptom of a root problem of sin and separation from God. All humanity is condemned under sin (Romans 8:23 ) and until we bring the burden of our sins to Christ, we still stand guilty before God. Repent from your sins and surrender your life to Christ. Be reconciled to Him and let Him give you the love you so desire.