“In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he has loved us” 1 John 4:10
With Valentine’s Day approaching this month, you may have mixed feelings—such as anticipation or dread (hopefully not the last). However let’s take some time to reflect on love in scripture. Regardless of your relationship status, you already have perfect love: a God who would die for you and invites you to love him in return. The focus of this month should be your love for God, the love in your family, the love between your friends and communities. While hearts, chocolates, roses, and cute notes are fun, it is the love and thoughtfulness behind them that matters. Shower ALL the people you love with kind words, actions, and thoughtfulness.
That being said, as you dive into this scripture, God writes to you his own love letters in the greatest love story ever written: a story between a loving God and his people in the bible. What is love? And what do we do with it? 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, 1 John 3:16-18, and 1 John 4:7-12, 16-21 help clear these questions up. In 1 John, the term “laying down your life for another” does not only mean that you would die for someone physically, but that you would put that person before yourself. You would sacrifice what you want or have for them. In our own simple way we can do this by being considerate or by going out of our way to help someone. This can be as easy as spending extra lunch money on lunch for a friend or making your mom a valentine card. You can do it! Get creative. Just remember that we love because we were first loved.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
“Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
(If you want to approach this familiar verse in a new way, read it again but substitute your own name for the word “love”. Would you act differently if you viewed yourself with the virtues of love?)
1 John 3:16-18
“The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.”
1 John 4:7-12, 16-21
“Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we must also love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us…We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
*Verses taken from the New American Bible translation
Love through His Sacred Heart,