We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:19 (NLT)
One of my favorite things growing up long ago was making my own Valentine box. I wanted it to be the most attractive box in the class so I would get lots of Valentine cards…especially the ones with candy or gum attached! We give Valentine’s cards to people to show that we like them or love them. But I’m pretty sure that at that time in my life, I didn’t really know what love was.
Oh, I loved my parents and my brother and sister, even my friends. And as I got older, I loved my spouse and my children, and now my grandchildren. But I never really knew what love was until I learned about Jesus.
Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. Jeremiah 33:3 (NLT)
The message of the Cross is the most beautiful Valentine you will ever receive. What does the Cross tell us? It’s a Valentine from God that tells us He loved us so much that He sent His only Son as a sacrifice for our sins so that we might have eternal life. This is the way God loves you. As much as Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa love you, God loves you even more. And what does God ask of us in return? Two very simple things: to love Him and to love others.
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. I John 4:7-12 (NLT)
We can show God’s love for us by loving others. Not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day of the year. We can show this love by praying for them, forgiving them, interceding for them, and never giving up on them. The apostle Paul wrote about this kind of love in 1 Corinthians. He told us that all our best efforts mean nothing if we do not have love.
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-2 (NLT)
Further in this chapter, he told us what love really is. Love means thinking of others rather than ourselves. It means loving others no matter what they have done or said. This is the kind of love we need to show to our mom or dad and to our friends. It is the kind of love we need to show to everyone. There are no “ifs” in true love. It is unconditional, just like Jesus loves us.
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. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)
Dear Jesus, thank You for loving us with an everlasting love; the strongest love there is. May we never forget the Valentine message of the Cross. Help us to be kind in word, generous in deed, and faithful in prayer. Help us to love others the way You have loved us. We pray this in the Name of Jesus. Amen.
A Stander in Nebraska