In the month of February, we often think about love. We just passed Valentine’s Day on February 14, named after Saint Valentine of Rome, who was a third-century Roman saint commonly associated with “courtly love.” If you went into any store you probably saw the red, white and pink decorations. Chocolates and flowers go flying off the shelves and while this may be commercialized and good for sales, for people of faith it can also be a reminder to appreciate and give gratitude for the people who love us and ask the question: how are we reflecting God’s love?
Some of the most well-known scripture verses are about love. Matthew 22:39: “Love your neighbour as yourself”. Sometimes seen at sporting events, the ultimate gift of love can be found in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life”. And one often proclaimed at weddings is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
Using these scripture verses we can assess how we are reflecting God’s love and how we can improve in all of our relationships by asking ourselves a few questions.
“Love your neighbour as yourself”:
Are you loving yourself well and caring for yourself? Are you loving your neighbours, not just the people who look like you, believe the same things as you or live where you live? What are you doing to nourish this love?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life”:
What is your relationship with God? God sacrificed his Son. Are you making sacrifices for God? Are you nourishing a relationship with God that brings you closer to the eternal Kingdom?
For the final scripture verse, a common exercise is to replace the word love with your name and see if the statements are true. Try it by placing your name in the blank spaces below. If the statements aren’t true, perhaps take some time to ponder how you can work on loving better and reflecting God’s love?
_______________ is patient. _______________ is kind. _______________ does not envy. _______________ does not boast. _______________ is not proud. _______________ does not dishonour others. _______________ is not self-seeking. _______________ is not easily angered. _______________ keeps no record of wrongs. _______________ does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. _______________ always protects. _______________ always trusts. _______________ always hopes. _______________ always perseveres. _______________ never fails.
These questions are helpful at any time to gauge how we are loving in our relationships with ourselves, with God and others. Plus, a little chocolate now and then is a nice treat too!