Saturday, 16 December 2017

The true meaning of love for Christians

DID you get any Valentine cards last week? Probably the number received was in inverse proportion to your age!

DID you get any Valentine cards last week? Probably the number received was in inverse proportion to your age!

But why are they called â??Valentinesâ?� and who was the man after whom they are named?



No one seems to know much about him, except that he was a Christian saint martyred by the Romans, through beating, stoning and eventual beheading.



So why is he associated with romantic love? Possibly because he conducted weddings for young Christians, when it was illegal to be a Christian, and thatâ??s what provoked the authorities to kill him.





In contrast to the barbaric view of life that gives the title of â??martyrâ?� to suicidal murderers, itâ??s worth stressing that itâ??s totally foreign to the nature of a Christian martyr to inflict harm on anyone else.



Like others who suffered, Valentine was victimised for his faith but his love for God and for people was so strong and firm that he kept faith despite torture and death.



In this, the martyrs were following their Master, Jesus, God the Son.



He kept right on to the end, culminating in the horror of crucifixion because he loved you and me. If you are a Christian, then the next time you feel discouraged, remind yourself that God the Son loved you so much that he died for you... and if his love for you was so deep, then itâ??s not going to evaporate: he loves you and cares for you still.



Romantic love is wonderful and exciting and we thank God for it but, even so, it falls far short of the love that God himself gives and expects.



In the teaching of the New Testament, love is not primarily an emotion or a feeling, itâ??s an activity.



Itâ??s an outpouring of practical kindness and care to those people whom we like and those whom we donâ??t like. Itâ??s an outpouring that goes on when we feel like doing it and when we donâ??t feel like it in the slightest.



That is the sort of love that God gives to you and me and itâ??s the kind of love he expects us to give in return.





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