Devotional: February 10, 2021
A friend loves at all times,
and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.
Proverbs 17: 17 NRSV
Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4: 1b-2 NRSV
Our calendars associate February 14th with love. This coming Sunday is Valentine’s Day: a day sometimes associated with flowers, chocolate, cards and dinners out (well maybe not this year!). Jesus commanded us to love, and not just to love the people we like, but also the people we don’t like. Love is at the very heart of our faith.
Yet come February 15th, the world will move on. This year, President’s Day will be observed on the day after Valentine’s day. That is a day we focus on and are thankful for Presidents, especially Washington and Lincoln, and their part in helping to found our country, and maintain our union. They were not perfect, but they loved our country, and it is good to honor them.
Each of these scripture passages are drawn from different Testaments (the Old and the New). Yet each reminds us that love should be a constant in our lives. We should strive to love with humility, gentleness and patience, throughout our entire lives. The subject of love should never be relegated to a single day, or week, or month. Instead, it should be our focus every day.
The Proverbs passage reminds us that true friends, and not just romantic lovers, love at all times. In a marriage ceremony, the vows given speak of promises to love “for better or worse, in sickness and in health, and for richer or for poorer.” Yet in an equally deep sense, true friendships also take these loving vows. These are promises, and words of love said in which two friends which provide safety and comfort to each another. This kind of love comes without conditions. We call that unconditional love.
Recently, I was doing some reading from another devotional on loving one’s enemies. I learned about the vigil held after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School almost exactly two years ago, on February 14, 2018. In the wake of that shooting, a public prayer vigil was held. One of the students there who had survived the shooting offered a prayer… for the shooter. It was not a prayer for God to take vengeance upon this shooter. Instead, it was a sincere prayer that the shooter would come to realize what he had done. It was a prayer offered out of love, in the very spirit of Jesus calling upon us to love our enemies.
That is what it means to love at all times. Not just when it is easy, but when it is hard to offer love. There will be difficult times in many of our relationships, but these are the times when we can and should let the love of Christ shine through us, as an example for the world to follow.
Jesus never failed to love others throughout His life and ministry. He did not celebrate love for a single day, and then move on. He lived a life of love. Jesus’s patient and loving example bore the burden of loving even those who put Him upon a cross. May that example inspire us.
We may be tempted to believe that God is asking us to love beyond our abilities. We may think that the Lord is asking more of us that we can bear. Yet we need to remember this truth: God didn’t give up on us. He bore all of our sins: every single one of them! Therefore, the call to love, to bear with one another’s infirmities, weaknesses, and even their sins, is not unreasonable. It is Godly, and needed. Today, pray for the strength to love others at all times… May it be so!
Thank You, Lord, for creating all things, including love. You are the Lord of perfect love. Forgive me when I pick and choose whom I feel is worthy of my love. Help me to see all people as those who You want me to love. When I am challenged, may I look to You for the guidance and direction I need. Teach my heart to soften.
Lovingly, I pray these words to You in Jesus’ name, Amen