By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird
What is Valentine’s Day without love? Dr. Gil Stieglitz, author of Marital Intelligence, says that love is meeting needs. We feel loved when someone else meets our needs. They feel loved when we meet their needs.
Without love, relationships don’t last. The Great Physician taught that the greatest commandments are all about love: love God and love our neighbour. Without loving people, we can’t really love God, because God is love. All the commandments are fulfilled when we love each other. We are called to do everything in love, to serve one another humbly in love. Love is called the Royal Law. Jesus taught that the Ten Commandments given us by Moses are about love. When we keep the Ten Commandments from our heart, we are being loving. When we break them, we are being unloving. The Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” is once again about showing love. The greatest love, said Jesus, was to sacrificially lay down our life for another. Because Jesus was so full of love, he gave us a new commandment: love one another as I have loved you. Love, says the Good Book, is patient and kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. The greatest is love. Imagine how our world might be different if it was more about giving than taking, more about putting others first ahead of ourselves. How might that affect Valentine’s Day?
How might love and God’s Ten Tips give us a better Valentine’s Day? The first two of the Ten Commandments teach us to lovingly say no to idolatry. When we put another person on a pedestal, they never stay there. They fall off. On Valentine’s Day, love is about honouring and valuing another person without expecting them to be perfect. Other humans make poor idols. They will always disappoint you once the Valentine’s buzz wears off. They are not God and neither are you. We’re just human. A key to a healthy Valentine’s Day is forgiving other’s imperfections.
The third of the Ten Commandments lovingly teaches us to not misuse God’s name. It is interesting how easily we can be tempted to misuse God’s name when life doesn’t go well. How we treat God shapes how we treat others. We need to respect other people’s names, personalities, and unique histories. Putting down others to make ourselves look better always backfires, especially on Valentine’s Day.
The fourth of the Ten Commandments teach us that workaholism kills relationship both with our spouse and our Creator. Busyness is often relational avoidance. If we never fully stop, we can never fully be. We just end up as restless and shallow. Having a day of rest is key to Valentine’s Day breakthrough.
The fifth of the Ten Commandments teaches us to show love through honouring our father and mother. Through forgiving our parents when they make mistakes, we are more able to show love to others on Valentine’s Day. Disrespect is contagious. So is honour and respect for others.
The sixth of the Ten Commandments teaches us that murder is not loving. We can murder people’s reputations through gossip and slander. Love rejects violence to others from the youngest to the oldest, especially on Valentine’s Day. Sadly video games and pornography are becoming more violent, desensitizing many of our younger generation to the importance of gentleness and kindness in our male/female relationships.
The seventh of the Ten Commandments teaches us that adultery is not loving. We show love through rejecting pornography and sexual exploitation. All humans, being made in God’s image, are of equal worth and value, regardless of background. Faithfulness particularly in marriage builds loving families and healthy communities.
The eighth of the Ten Commandments teaches us that stealing is not loving. On Valentine’s Day, we want to be people that can be trusted. We will not take advantage of others. We are here to bless and not to hurt.
The ninth of the Ten Commandments teaches us that telling the truth in love is the way to healthy relationship. When we are deceitful and dishonest, everyone loses, especially on Valentine’s Day. No one wants to marry someone who can’t be trusted.
The tenth and final of the Ten Commandments teaches us that coveting destroys loving relationship. As the Beatles sang, Money can’t buy you love. Greed dehumanizes and destabilizes. Love frees, releases, and strengthens. My Valentine’s Day prayer is that those reading this article will choose the way of love, the way of Christ, the way of the Ten Commandments.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News
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