At this time of year, the shops are awash with Valentine cards and gifts. There are some lovely well written cards and wonderful presents that you can buy your loved one. The expensive gifts are bound to impress but also a gift can be just what the person wanted. It shows that you took the time to listen. We can sometimes get carried away and think that once we have bought an expensive present then that will be enough. It is not just the present that matters, it is also the thought that went into obtaining the gift.
It is too easy to make one-off gestures with lavish gifts and then not back it up with how we treat people for the rest of the year. Our love needs to be consistent even in the most testing times. When Paul the Apostles was trying to express God’s perfect love to us, and in turn set a standard for our expression of love to others, he wrote a wonderful passage on love to the church at Corinth. The Corinthians had only recently encountered the Christian faith through Paul, and were still learning how to behave as follower of Christ. Paul wrote to them to explain what kind of love they should show each other. ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.’ (1 Corinthians chapter 13)
Love in its essence is wanting the best for the other person. That can be expressed in different ways in different situations. For a parent there will be hugs and kisses and encouragement for the child but there may also be times of discipline. For a couple in a relationship it means understanding each other and putting the needs of the partner first. It is not easy to love all the time, to want the best for the other person and so sometimes we need to say ‘Sorry’. Gods’ love is perfect, he wants the very best for each one of us, and so there will be times when he will make his presence felt really strongly because we need the encouragement of his love: But there will be other times when he will try and dissuade us from a course of action because he loves us.
God Bless Peter Bates