A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35 NASB
For the past few years, on Valentine’s Day, I have gone on an annual Cupid Hunt. It started at 12:00am February 14th and lasted until 11:59pm that same day. Throughout the day I would post status updates like,”… my crossbow misfired and it nicked that little imp’s harp”! or, “I just bought a duck call but instead of calling ducks it produces annoying cherub giggles! #soannoying.” It was fun but I never actually shot, stuffed, and placed a cupid head on my wall.
Yes, I was quite the morbid anti-Cupid dude. But it was all in good fun. I love Valentine’s day for many reasons.
People who are in relationships often treat single people with kid gloves (very carefully) on Valentine’s Day. For good reasons sometimes. Some of my single friends HATE their singleness on Valentine’s day. This is brought about because they see all the frufru fun smootchy kind of stuff going on around us. There may be a myriad of reasons for the Single Person Valentine’s Day Angst Syndrome. One I want to highlight, is that they may feel left out and … I’m just going to say it … jealous of what is happening in other people’s lives.
Do you still love me :)? I hope so, because I recognize the temptation to be jealous is incredibly strong. And in a culture, especially church culture, that believes singleness is a problem to be “fixed,” and exalts marriage as the barometer of relational happiness and healthiness… it’s easy to buy into a false “us vs them” dichotomy. Which is also something our culture is addicted to (unnecessary stigmatization.)
We don’t have to give into feeling self-pity. Valentine’s Day is about love. And there is so much MORE to love than roses and chocolates.
But … you know… if you want to send me roses and chocolates… I’d so take them … as a friend of course
I love that “love” is the fountain of life from which all good flows. I love that love is the root/empowerment of the greatest two commandments Jesus taught us:
Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets. Matthew 22:36-40(NASB)
Love is patient, kind, not jealous, not braggadocious, not arrogant, not unbecoming, not seeking its own, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, and love rejoices in truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails (all from 1 Cor. 13).
The picture to your left is a calligraphy that my friend Sue B. made for me in 2000. She made it after a very powerful prayer time I had. I shared the details with her and several other friends. The prayer was basically the day I embraced the decision to live a celibate life, for the rest of my life, until God said otherwise (if He ever says otherwise.) That day, and today 14 years later, I am contentedly single. It reads:
“As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” Based on Isaiah 62:5 and Zephaniah 3:17
Throughout the years I have truly enjoyed the expressions of love I have seen on Valentine’s day being expressed by the loving couples around me. I love seeing Husbands blessing and serving; love seeing wives eyes light up and great big smiles. Love seeing young couples in love … I love all of it.
I love it for *them* and I also love it in that it reminds me of Jesus’ love for the church; of Jesus love for me. … of Jesus rejoicing, delighting, singing … over me … over us.
He seeks to woo us into a deeper life-giving relationship, and I firmly believe He takes great delight in simply blessing us with surprised beauty and gifts. If our eyes are clouded with jealousy or envy, we won’t have eyes to see that the Creator of the universe is telling us He loves us through the everyday blessings we take for granted.
And sometimes He just shocks the snot out of you and has a friend send $45 worth of Starbucks gift cards
So, if you are single like I am … don’t miss appreciating how your loved ones love others. If you are married and tempted toward pitying single people today, don’t condescend to us. Don’t “feel bad” that we don’t have what you have … you enjoy you, because I do. I am nothing but happy for you and pray you have a splendid Valentine’s day. I am spending the day with the Author of Love Himself… we single folk will be more than alright. We are grateful for our lives and the opportunity to be a friend to both you and your spouse; or “love interest” :).
Throughout the day, instead of posting silly status updates of how Cupid eluded my custom designed bear trap … AGAIN! I will simply pray, “Father, I love you. Thank you for creating and being Love. Thank you for the echoes of love that surround me.” I will enjoy all the various ways my married or dating friends are enjoying the day. I will pray for us all to fall deeper in love with God, to fall deeper in love with each other, so that all of those wonderful attributes listed above will manifest as a default approach to all of our relationships.
I will pray for us all to be blessed with having our need for love satiated by a Loving God who is passionate about, and completely familiar with, each and every one of us.