Lent and Valentine’s Day
9 God didn’t intend for us to suffer his wrath but rather to possess salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 Jesus died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with him. 11 So continue encouraging each other and building each other up, just like you are doing already.
1 Corinthians 5:9-11
February is the month we think of love, at least if we believe the marketing campaigns in just about every store. Love is something we can definitely spend time focusing on. One difference between the believer of Christ and the non-believer is in our understanding of what true love is. In the completely secular understanding, true love is that magic that happens when someone falls in love with someone else. It is almost always defined as a carnal, physical feeling that has just as much tendency to fall out as fall in. For the Christian, true love is much deeper. It is a love that is selfless and limitless. True love is the very definition of God, witnessed though the person of Jesus Christ, and continually experienced through the Holy Spirit. If we seek and live this love, then it completely changes how we see the world, and others. In this love, we need to lift up and encourage fellow believers in their own walks and in their ministries.
Sadly, this is not always the case, even in the church. Even Christians fall into the sinful traps of desiring attention, feeding on accolades, and discouraging competition. I would like to remind us that others have callings on their lives, just like we do. When we feel like we would or could do a ministry differently, but we are not the ones participating, then we must check in us the unhelpful negativity that sometimes surfaces to disparage others to make us feel better. This is even uglier when we discourage another, or a ministry, that receives attention we think that we, or our ministry, deserve.
Lent also starts in February, fittingly on Valentine’s Day. Let us use this time of reflection heading toward the great Easter celebration to examine, identify, and call out in ourselves the sinful parts that keep us from living fully into the lives God calls for each of us. Let us learn to lift up and encourage each other in what we do for God and the world around us. We need each other, and each other’s gifts. We need to quit discouraging them and help each other be the best we can be. Let love, God’s love, be our guiding principle. That will change the world!
Yours in Christ,