Yes, I know that Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday, but I like it anyway. What’s wrong with showing the people you care about that you love them? (I do not do Sweetest Day, though, that’s going too far.) True confessions – I am one of the world’s ultimate saps. I like the little red hearts, flowers, chocolates, romance, the whole shebang. But everyone likes to know they are loved. Everyone.
God does a good job of this. God is love (1 John 4:16) and God loves everyone unconditionally. That means WITHOUT conditions or limits. God loves us even when we don’t believe, even when we mess up, even when we question and doubt, even when we hurt others… to do otherwise would not be unconditional love. Get it? I believe there can be no contradiction in God, so that God cannot love us, yet cast us into hell for all eternity. God cannot love us, yet cause bad things to happen in our lives to punish us.
Here’s the kicker… we’re called to love as God loves. We’re called to practice a love that is not limited by other’s responses to us. Our grade school teachers try to help us learn this. All kids must give a Valentine to everyone else in the class, no matter how much they smell, or annoy you, or don’t like you. Sadly that ethic doesn’t seem to follow us into our later years. We rationalize that since we haven’t been loved by everyone, we certainly shouldn’t have to show love to everyone. If we’ve had to earn love and respect from others, certainly others should have to earn our love and respect.
God’s call challenges us like no other. God says that spiritually we need to keep working on ourselves until we can get to a place where we love without limits. Deep inside ourselves we need to be so connected to God, the “ground of our being”, that we are loving in the face of crazy, annoying people; that we are non-violent in the face of violence; that we place more value on the soul and spirit than on material things. I keep working on this.
Happy Valentine’s Week! Know that you are loved! ~ Kaye