Charles O. Anyiam-Osigwe reflects on love as we mark Valentine’s Day this coming Wednesday 14th February 2018.
As we mark Valentine’s Day, let us reflect on love and not be perfunctory when it comes to the act of loving. Christ gave us a divine commandment: “A new commandment I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love for one another.” John 13:34-35.
Most of us are at a loss as to how to define love. We don’t know what it means when we talk about love. Are you able to love as St. Paul recommends in 1 Corinthians 13:7-8? “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”
Does your love:
- Bear all things?
- Believe all things?
- Hope all things?
- Endure all things?
Individually when it comes to affection and our feelings towards others, we tend to be selective – we like some people and we can’t bear the sight of others. In other words, we can’t bear all things. It therefore cannot be said that we walk in the light of Christ and live love because, “if we walk in the light, as He is the light, we have fellowship with one another.” John 1:7
With regard to the relationship between a man and a woman – “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24 KJV). Other translations render “leave and cleave” as “leave and be united” (NIV), “leave and be joined” (NASB), and “leave and hold fast” (ESV).
What is the import of this verse when it comes to the relationship between a man and a woman in this day and age of moral decadence and infidelity, when people feign love even in martial situations and their hearts are not in the marriage?
As recorded in Genesis chapter 2, God created Adam first, and then Eve. God Himself brought Eve to Adam. God ordained that they would be joined together in holy matrimony and the purpose is that the two become one flesh. A man is to be the husband of one wife and is to leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife.
This is a picture of marital intimacy:
- The act of love that is never to involve anyone else. To “cleave” means “to adhere to, stick to, or join with.” It is a unique joining of two people into one entity.
- It means no one quits when things are not going well – “bears all things.” This includes talking things out.
- Praying things through – “hopes all things.”
- Being patient as you trust God and seek His counsel.
- Being willing to admit when you are wrong and asking for forgiveness.
- The family to be a harmonious unit where love for God and neighbours are instilled into each family member.
As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, let us take the time to really reflect on what true love really means and how we relate to one another in love. Let us remove any insincerity, pride, vanity and false affection from our lives.
Pray to God to pour out His love in and through you because the fountain from which love flows is from God. So when irritable or unusually difficult people confront you, the Spirit will not let you react negatively to them.
St. Paul tells us in Romans 5:5, “and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” God’s love is there only because it has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit and we must be channels of this pure love.