“What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?”
If this were a sitcom the question would likely be asked of a clueless guy who has nothing planned. This would be followed by all sort of embarrassing blunders as the guy tries to pull something together at the last minute.
For some, Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday, designed to pressure them into giving outward material signs of love and devotion for that special someone in their life. For others, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to go above and beyond in displaying their devotion to the people they love. Many fall somewhere in between.
At the heart of it all (pun intended) Valentine’s Day is about expressing love. Whether the impetus behind that is greeting card companies or centuries of tradition, the intent is to take a special moment to express love for others.
In preparing to write about this I looked up different Bible verses on love and relationships. But then I saw it. The one verse that seemed perfect for this Valentine’s Day. Are you ready? Here it is:
“But I say to you who listen: Love your enemies, do what is good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If anyone hits you on the cheek, offer the other also. And if anyone takes away your coat, don’t hold back your shirt either.” (Luke 6:27–29, HCSB)
If that is not what you were expecting, you are not alone. This is not what I was looking for or intended to use. Yet, when I read those words, I knew these were the verses I needed to write about.
The one thing everyone can agree on is that we live in trying times full of tension. No matter which side of any argument you fall (and there are many) we are all battling in uncertain polarizing times. In the midst of this struggle, I believe we have forgotten Jesus’ words from Luke 6:27-29.
There seem to be a lot of angry people out there. This is especially apparent on social media among Christians and non-Christians alike.
Christians are called to be more than honest decent people of integrity. We are called to do more than help those in need. We are called to share the love God has for a world of sinners who neither deserve His love, nor His mercy. This means we are to love those who hate us. We are to love those who suppress us. We are to love those who abuse us.
Not only to love these people but pray for them. We are directed by scripture to pray for the people who hate us. We are not to pray against them, we are to pray for them. This is a real measure of our love for our enemies.
I encourage us all to try the following. Before posting or saying anything negative or contrary, spend some time praying for the object of our indignation. Pray that God would have His way in the life of the person or people involved. Pray that His will be done in all things. And pray that our words honor Him.
I believe this approach will change us all. And what better day to begin an intentional effort to love and pray for our enemies than on Valentine’s Day?