Sunday, February 12, 2017

The True Meaning of Love

The month of February is synonymous with love. Valentine Day is definitely a favorite holiday of children.  I remember the excitement I felt in my childhood as I addressed cards to all of my classmates.

As a child, Valentine Day was not so much about "love" as it was about "like." It was a time to give friends a card to let them know that I liked them and receive cards from friends to say that they like me too. And of course, I looked forward with great anticipation to those valentines that might come with a chocolate kiss or a heart-shaped lollipop attached.

As a teacher of children, Valentine Day provides us with a great opportunity to teach them about the true meaning of love - the love that we learn about in God's Word. Probably the best definition we find for love is found in the "love chapter" of the Bible. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-6 tells us that “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.”

Of course, there are many other verses in Bible that teach us about love.  Here are a few:

  • Hebrews 13:1-2: “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers.”
  • 1 John 3:11: ”For this is the message you heard from the beginning: we should love one another.”
  • John 13:34-35: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
  • 1 John 4:8: "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
  • 1 John 3:16-18: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lie down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."
  • John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

It is easy for children, and even adults, to love friends and those who show love and kindness to us. Jesus, however, went much further than that. Jesus taught us that we should love our enemies and those who persecute us.

  • Matthew 5:43-45: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.

What a wonderful world it would be if we would practice the kind of love that Jesus taught us. The love of true children of the Heavenly Father!