To the surprise of no one who knows me in the least, I must confess that I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day. Perhaps it’s the over-commercialization or the phoniness of the day. Or, more likely, I just don’t like to be told that I must feel or express a specific sentiment on a specific day (not that I have authority issues). Whatever the reason, I just don’t care for the Valentine’s Holiday.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not against love or marriage or happy relationships or many of the other things that Valentine’s Day is supposed to represent. I just don’t like the day. However, through some reflection over the past week, I have come to appreciate one foundational assumption behind Valentine’s Day: love professed should be love expressed. Despite the way I feel about the holiday, I believe that this is the primary sentiment behind it and I am in whole-hearted agreement. Eventually, if we truly love someone than we will demonstrate it in some observable way.
While everyone enjoys being told that they are loved and appreciated, eventually those verbal assurances fade into inefficacy if not supported by some kind of action. This is a major reason that so many children and spouses feel unloved despite the fact that their spouse or parent would adamantly profess their love. It is also why churches are filled with Christians who claim to “love the world” at the same time that the world feels hated or neglected by the church. It is also why the Bible always speaks of our obligation to love one another in terms of action rather than feeling.
The overwhelming assumption behind the command to love is that our love will be expressed in an observable fashion. That is why Jesus said in John 13:35 that “your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” As a genuine follower of Christ, a prominent part of our responsibility to God and testimony to the world is a life that manifests His love to those around us. As Jesus did, we must love and accept others, offer forgiveness, live selflessly, be kind, and treat others as more important than ourselves. After all, this kind of genuine, observable love for others is evidence that we actually love God. As 1 John 4:20 says, “He who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” Take this verse to heart and learn this valuable lesson from Valentine’s Day: Love professed must be love expressed or it isn’t genuine love at all.