As Valentine's Day approaches, everything is red hearts and roses. But do these things represent real love? I've been thinking about why we think of the color red when we think of all things love, and I had an epiphany.
The blood of Jesus.
Don't get me wrong, I think that we need to take time and make romantic gestures for our sweethearts. This is not a "don't buy flowers this Valentine's Day" post (Hear that, honey? You can still buy me flowers.). But I want to take a moment to think about real, selfless, unending love.
In the book of John, Jesus said this:
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. [...] This is my command: Love each other.
John 15:12-13, 17
While reading this passage, I realized that it is here that Jesus tells his disciples that they are no longer servants, but friends. Jesus will then go on to sacrifice his own life for them and us. These verses are prophecy!
But how many of us could actually do this? I'm not sure that I could. And to be 100% transparent, as a teacher, I would sit through the emergency procedures meetings at school, where we would go over what to do if an active shooter came. I would almost cry at the thought for two reasons. One, I would go to that place that every mother fears and think about what I would do if MY child was one of the children being held hostage by a shooter. How in the world, could I be in a different part of the building than them? How could I not run to them and try to save them? And the second reason is that I would wonder if I could give my life for student's if the time came. Could I leave my children motherless? Would I have the courage? I know that you all probably find me repulsive at that admission. "How could you not give your life for a child?!" you ask. Or maybe you think its just morbid thought on my part, but I wonder if other teachers had the same thoughts and uncertainties in those meetings.
Do you love your Valentine this much? Is there anyone that you love that much? So much that you would give your own life for theirs? Ponder that for a bit.
Let's look at another example of real love.
"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."
That is arguably, the most well-known verse in the Bible. I used to recite it all the time and think, "Oh, God loves me so much. How nice is that? Isn't that just sweet?"
But now I'm a mom, and I think, "Oh, God loves me SO much! How can I NOT love Him back?! What an AMAZING sacrifice!"
I can never listen to the Easter Story the same way again. I get a gut-wrenching sorrow for my God now whenever I hear it. I know that God knew that his Son would live again, but can you imagine, even having that knowledge, having to watch your son or daughter endure the torture and humiliation that God watched Jesus suffer?
Jesus didn't want to be sacrificed. In Matthew 26:39, Jesus says, "...My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." The crucifixion is all God's idea. Now, I don't want to downplay the sacrifice of Jesus that he himself performed. He was willing to be crucified because he loved us, but he also hoped that God would come up with something else. Ok, back to God. As a parent, can you even fathom letting your kid die so that mine could live? And even more to the heart of what it was for God to do this, could you get pregnant and bring a baby into this world for the sole purpose of them dying to save my kid? What if my kid is a complete bully? What if they treat others horribly? Do you love my kid enough to still let your kid die for them?
I'm here to tell you that I couldn't do it. I know that there will be judgmental people out there condemning me for my honesty, but I think you need to know. I can't even fathom the excruciating pain of losing a child. But even more than that, I can't imagine sacrificing my children of my own volition.
As you go about your Valentine's Day activities think about this love. The love from your Father and His Son.
All of you out there that don't have a date for Sunday, don't think you don't have a Valentine. And those of you who do have dates, remember that you still need God in the middle of that relationship for it to grow and flourish.
We are all loved the most by our God. We, as humans, will never be able to give the kind of love that God can. Psalm 139:1 says, "O Lord, you have searched me and you know me." Nothing you do is a secret to God, and He loves you anyway. Did you hear that?! He loves you anyway! And He is asking, "Will you be mine?"
What is your answer?