As Valentine’s Day comes around, everyone starts talking about love and romance. But behind the red hearts and the chocolates, what really is love, and why does it matter so much to us?
It’s popular to say that love is about what you do, not what you feel. And it’s certainly true that just feeling attracted to someone, and even saying nice things about them, doesn’t do much for them. Actions speak louder than words – that cup of tea I could have had ready for Helen when she came in from school a few minutes ago would have showed my love much better than just telling her how much I love her.
But isn’t that a bit too simplistic? Many a good deed has been done through gritted teeth. That’s certainly not love.
Love is about the heart. But that doesn’t mean it’s about emotions. In the Bible the heart is the source, the root of all our decisions. And the root of how we behave towards someone else is how much we value them. Not for what we can get from them, but for what they really are. Love means valuing their well-being, their happiness, even more than we value our own. All the kind deeds, the easy ones and the costly ones, flow out from that deep-down decision.
And that’s why being loved matters so much. Being loved means that someone values me. And we’re made to relate to each other, so being loved makes me valuable.
And that’s where God comes in. Because God loves us enough to invite us to be part of his love. He values you so much that he was prepared to die – on the cross – for you, even when you’d turned your back on him. If you accept that love, then even when human love fails, or dies, or turns away – you are still just as valuable.
That’s the love we celebrate each week at Brickworks church. If you want to experience it, come along one Sunday. Or get in touch if you’d like to talk about it.
This article was first published in Issue 6 of The Rufford Brick, February 2015