February 13, 2011
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7
Tomorrow is Valentine's Day.
Our thoughts turn to love and, for many people, marriage.
I've been told there is in Africa a tribe of people whose marriages depend completely upon clothing. On her wedding day, the bride receives a single gift: a wrap that serves as her wedding gown. The marriage lasts exactly as long as that wedding dress. As soon as the gown is threadbare, the marriage is over.
This is how it works: if the bride is happy, she never wears her wedding dress and it lasts for a very, very long time. If, on the other hand, the bride is disappointed with her new groom, she wears her wedding dress all the time.
The end result is that the dress, along with the marriage, quickly becomes threadbare.
Over the years I've known more than one couple who could have used such a visible sign to signal their relationship was in trouble. That's because, all too often love deteriorates for one partner, while the other thinks everything is just fine.
That's really tragic.
This is why it is right for us to regularly take stock of how we are treating those whom we meet. In such an action, our beloved Savior sets the standard.
Read through the Gospels and you will see there was never a time when He forgot to love those whom society considered to be unlovable. Lepers were greeted, touched, and healed. Demoniacs were embraced and cured. Sinners were forgiven.
Now, even though the Savior is not with us visibly, He still shows His care for us ... and in Scripture we hear His words of love spoken to us ...
... and not just on Valentine's Day. Jesus shows how much He loves us every day, which means when we emulate His example in our lives, our actions -- not our heart-shaped cards -- will let those around us know they are always and forever special.
Now does that mean we shouldn't do something special for Valentine's Day? Not at all. It's probably as good a day as any to let those whom you love know that your feelings haven't worn out.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Gracious Father, You tell us every day of Your love for us in all that You provide for us. Remind us to reach out more often with uplifting words and actions to reflect Your love to each other. This we ask in the Name of Jesus who is Your loving message of salvation for a lost and sinful world. In His Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries