There are many legitimate reasons for grief on Valentine's Day, but not having someone buy you flowers, send you notes, and tell you you're awesome should not be among them. Why? Because February 14 ought to be a celebration of love, not ourselves.
Somewhere along the way, it became acceptable to be angry and depressed when your Valentine's Day is lacking a person to celebrate you, to proclaim your beauty, to confess undying devotion to you. How ironic to prize selfishness in the name of love.
It should not be so for the Christian. We follow a crucified and risen Lord who defined love by sacrifice. A celebration of love should prompt Christ's followers to consider how they might serve others, not how others might serve them.
But still the disappointment of a husband's failure to remember hurts. The unfulfilled longings for companionship sting. So how do we sort through our emotions and honor Christ on Valentine's Day?
The Chick Flick Lie
First, we need to recognize and reject the lie our culture is selling us. According to most romantic comedies, true love is finding that special someone who makes much of you. Someone who makes you the center of his universe, who adores you above all else, who worships you. Who wouldn't want that? Of course it sounds amazing to have a man who can read my mind and who celebrates me in every waking moment. But this is not love.
Not only that, we don't actually deserve to be treated that way. There is only one Person who deserves to be made much of, to be worshiped and celebrated every waking moment. But the One entitled to be adored instead chose to be abhorred, despised, and rejected, a man of sorrows, bearing our griefs and sorrows.
This is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10).
Rights forfeited, griefs accepted, others preferred: This is the way of true love. Any other counterfeit will ultimately enslave us and steal our joy.
A Better Way
Why not shed this self-serving worldly "love" for true love today? A love that elevates others above self. A love willing to sacrifice its wants, desires, and dreams for the joy of another. A love unto the glory of God, not the glory of ourselves.
But before we can truly love others, we must first ourselves be loved. Love is from God, and the only ones who can love are born of God and know God (1 John 4). Without understanding, receiving, and enjoying God's love for us, we are not capable to give out such sacrificial love to those in our lives.
We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).
While we were still sinners, He loved us. When we had done nothing for Him, He loved us. His love for us meant death, and death He gladly received. Only the heart that treasures this love is capable to give it out. To love not to get but to give. Not to use, but to be used. The heart that loves yearns to make much of God, not to make much of self.
What You Really Deserve
To receive the love of God is to accept our bankruptcy. We have nothing good to our name, only sin. We deserve one thing, and by the love of Christ are spared. So when it comes to our relationships, we must slay our thoughts of entitlement. I deserve better has no place in the mind of a Christian.
It's far too easy to focus on what we think others should do for us, especially those we're closest to. When they fail to meet our expectations, we are tempted to punish. But in the hour we were most undeserving, Christ died for us. So when those we love let us down, therein we find our invitation to share in Christ's death. Not a physical death of course, but a death to our preferences, our selfish ambitions, our desires and wants. And just like Christ's death, ours also has the ability to bring about new life.
Love is sacrifice. Love is self-forgetting. Love is not about you.
So sisters, let us be reminded of who we are. The sinners with a Savior, the orphans with a Father, the beggars with abundance. Entitled to nothing, possessors of everything. Freed from our selfishness to love sacrificially. As such, we can reject the cultural lies about love and about what we deserve. We can believe in our God who is enough.
In Christ alone true love is found, and through Him alone true love is given. May He get all the glory.
Happy Valentine's Day!