February is upon us!
For being the shortest month of the year, a whole lot sure does happen in February — President’s Day, Valentine’s Day, the start of baseball’s spring training, it’s Black History Month, and Feb. 9 is my mom’s birthday and National Toothache Day. National Toothache Day is set aside for people to study the causes of toothaches and tooth decay. Mom had a full set of dentures before I was born; maybe if her family had celebrated toothache day, she would have taken better care of the teeth.
As much as I’d like to get into the subject, this week’s column is not about my mom’s dental hygiene. The topic is what Valentine’s Day is all about — love.
If you take nothing with you from this column, please leave with this — the opposite of love is not hatred; the opposite of love is selfishness.
At least three times the Bible tells us because God loved us He gave Himself for us.
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”
True love will always sacrifice on behalf of the one loved. A mom goes without so her children can have a new pair of shoes. A dad gives up his night out with the guys to attend his kid’s second-grade play.
The fact is, with true love, the above examples are not sacrifices at all; mom is more than willing to go without and dad would rather be at the school play. Neither one would think twice otherwise.
When it comes to our valentine, the one we are in a romantic relationship with, who do you think of first? You or them? Do you struggle inside to do something for them, or is it natural for you to put them first?
I can think of three car dealers in my area that have commercials telling me they have the best deals in town. When I bought my last car, I received the best deal from a dealership without such an ad. Lesson learned: Actions speak louder than words.
Often a young man will say the right thing, like, “I love you” when his motives are selfish. Don’t forget, the opposite of love is selfishness.
I’ve often heard a young woman who is going through emotional, physical, or verbal abuse say, “He’s only like this when …” If a man is willing to put a woman through these things, he does not love her.
Ladies and Gentlemen, love, will always give itself to the object loved. Love does not look to see what it can get out of a relationship; love looks to see what it can give to a relationship.
The best marriages are the ones where the man is looking to please his wife, and the wife is looking to please her husband.
The best families are the ones where everyone is looking for ways to be of help and the advancement of the others.
The best workplaces are places where everyone is trying to get the business to move forward, not attempting to get whatever they can out of the situation.
Of the churches in the book of Revelation, God only threatened to remove one of them – the church of Ephesus, whose only error was that they had “left thy first love” (Revelation 2:4).
Love caused God Almighty to go from using His voice to create everything that exists to crying when He was hungry or needed His diaper changed as a babe in the manger. Love caused God to humble Himself because we needed a Saviour.
How are your relationships?
Guys, do you love your wife or girlfriend the way God loves (Ephesians 5:25)?
Ladies, do you bring genuine love to your husband or boyfriend?
Parents, is the time and energy you spend with your children forced or does it come naturally from the heart? Believe me, your kids will recognize the difference.
Again, I ask, how are your relationships? If anyone is asking, “What’s in it for me?” It is not a relationship built on love.
The opposite of love is selfishness.
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Ind. Visit his website, [email protected]