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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

Its Valentine's Day; the day when we celebrate love. An interesting celebration it is too. Candy, flowers, cards. I've noticed that the flowers seem to get cheaper as they go into the tents in the Kroger parking lot ... but the cards get pricier as they stack up on fancy kiosks --- in the same store. What's up with that?

Love is an interesting proposition. Society often talks about being in love. We see the magazines on the news stands heralding some new celebrity and how happy they are with their latest love. It occurs to me that happiness isn't the point of love. The Bible has a lot to say about love. It speaks of God's love for us --- incredible. It speaks of our love for God --- usually falling short. It speaks of our love for each other --- probably misunderstood. So what are we celebrating here?

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. ... When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. - 1 Corinthians 13 (NLV)

So there it is, the real definition of love. Will you get or give a Valentine's Day card that reflects that truth? Or will you get a card that speaks and reasons and thinks as a child? Does your focus of love include patient and kind? Not jealous or rude? Does it demand its own way? Many of us grew up having life experiences from people who loved us, but we didn't experience it. Few among us have escaped the lament of, "I don't want to grow become my parents."

Why don't we? Mostly because we saw an imperfect love. We saw a love that was tainted with sin and other aspects of humanity. But then we go out in our own lives and start building the same dimensions of love for those we care about and are in relationship with. If I had been the Apostle Paul and had written 1 Corinthians 13, I probably would have added something like, "Love is not perfect. It forgives everything. Love doesn't sweat the small stuff."

And don't get me started about sex. Somehow Valentine's Day cards have become racy. I've seen some in the card racks that looked nearly obscene. I'm sure if I went to different stores, I probably could find obscene Valentine's Day cards. When did we equate sex with love? It is a dimension of love. It is not the dimension of love. The presence of sex doesn't signify the presence of love. By contrast, the absence of sex doesn't indicate the absence of love.

To be honest, I think we've been deceived by sexuality. When most of us think of "good sex," we think of what we got out of it. In other words, we focus on the selfish dimensions of the experience. Look at 1 Corinthians 13, and ask yourself what it promises for you? There is nothing selfish about it. Nowhere does it say love is rewarding, meets all your needs, makes you feel significant, makes you feel safe. Quite the contrary, the truth about love is what you can give, not what you can get. Now, re-think your sexuality in that filter, and see what you can give.

Sexuality has become perhaps the biggest joke of mankind. Whatever God meant for good we have certainly perverted to a sense that one might question what value can be left. In today’s' news, a woman in German auctioned off the opportunity to have sex with her in an on-line auction site. Six (6) men won bids to have sex with her. She willingly had sex with all six them, knowing each of them only by their on-line ID. (Read about it at

Do you suppose this was God's plan for sex? Do you suppose there could be any love here whatsoever? Making the travesty even worse, now she is pregnant and can't imagine which one of the men is the father. I'm guessing her future son or daughter may have some questions about what love is. Too bad mom and dad won't have any answers.

This Valentine's Day, let us reflect on 1 Corinthians 13. Let us consider what love really is. And let us resolve to change our thinking and our ways concerning love. If we ever get that right, then it truly will be a happy Valentine's Day!

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