If you’re like me and you’re single on Valentine’s Day, it’s okay to love yourself. Take the sage advice of Tom and Donna on the right and “treat yo self!” If you’re unfamiliar with the show these two actors performed on—Parks & Recreation—Tom and Donna had an annual tradition in which they would take one day out of the year to treat themselves to whatever they wanted. They would go on insane shopping sprees and get pampered at a spa. While I certainly don’t recommend engaging in such materialism and careless spending, I do encourage you to take the day for yourself. Do whatever makes you happy. I, for one, will be spending the day playing video games (after my university duties, of course), buying myself a steak dinner, and buying myself candy.
This might seem ridiculous at first, but I seriously encourage you to take the day and treat yourself. I have never been in a relationship on Valentine’s Day. So every time this silly holiday rolls around, I can’t help but get depressed because of my perpetual loneliness. So this year I’ve decided that instead of being depressed, I’m going to take the day and treat myself! If you’re single this year on Valentine’s Day and the thought of being alone on this day also makes you depressed, I encourage you all the more to take the day and treat yo self! Even more: learn to love yourself.
In my loneliness, sometimes I get depressed and cynical. It is a great desire of mine to have a godly woman with whom we can use our relationship to give glory to God. Yet it evades me. So I often become depressed and cynical. While in this state, my friends remind me, “God loves you. That’s all that matters.” And they’re right. No person’s love can match the love of my Father. Yet in my sin, it isn’t enough for me, so I become annoyed with being told this all the time. But it’s so true! God loves you more than any significant other can! This is a reminder I want to share with all you single folks.
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus laid down His life for me—for you. If we continue reading, we find out that Jesus calls us His friends. “You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you” (vv. 14-15). A servant is not his master’s friend because a servant does not know the will of his master. Yet Jesus has revealed to us God’s will—to be forgiven and become children of God. Therefore, He calls us friends. No love is greater than someone laying down his life for his friends. Jesus declares all those who believe in Him His friends, and He died for all His friends. Jesus loves you so much that He chose to die for you when you don’t deserve it.
Of course, as a Christian, you know this. But we often forget how awesome this is. This love of Jesus comes from the Father of all creation, which is greatly summarised in John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” God loves all of us so much that He gave His only Son to die for us. Only Jesus’ life would be sufficient to cover our sins. We discover this in the near-sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22. God tested Abraham to proclaim a wider message to him and to His people of all time: no human life is sufficient to cover our sins, and by providing the ram as a sacrifice God was indicating He is going to provide this sacrifice for us. This sacrifice would be no one other than His only begotten Son. I don’t have a son, but I cannot imagine giving up my only child to die for someone. Imagine that pain! Yet God loves us so much that He does not want any of us to perish, so He did what was required to prevent this from happening and sacrificed the blood of His only Son to do this for us. John 3:16 is quoted so often like a cliché that its immense significance has become dull. On this Valentine’s Day, it is important to remember, as a single person, God’s immense love for you that no other love can match.
As you remember God’s love for you, I also invite you to love other people, but not in a romantic sense. The nature of Valentine’s Day is to focus on romance, but love goes so much more beyond that. Jesus gave us a command to love one another: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35). This is another verse we’ve heard a lot, which has unfortunately lost its significance among many. Consider what’s going on in the world right now. There is so much contention among people—even from Christians—on meagre political issues. There is not much love out there anymore, even from among Christians. This is hugely problematic. Our Lord has commanded us to love one another, in which I dare say we have become colossal failures at doing. This love includes loving our enemies (Matthew 5:44)! But we would rather divide ourselves from them. The love of God is impartial. So must our love be impartial. Why does Jesus command us to love one another? So that people will know we are His disciples! In other words, people will know the love of God through our example if we love one another.
Reflecting on my recent actions, I have failed in doing this. I have not loved people as I should. I invite you all to self-reflect as well and begin to seek God in how to love others. Love someone this Valentine’s Day. Not romantically. Give someone words of encouragement, uplift someone in the Lord, help someone financially if you are able, give to the poor, pray with someone… There are so many ways in which we can choose to love someone, even if it’s something really simple. The simplest gesture can go so far. Every now and then I doubt my abilities as a future pastor because of my introverted personality. Recently, I was having doubts again, and out of the blue a friend of mine told me she just got out of a bible study on the gifts of the Spirit and told me how the gift of teaching made her think of me. She said, “You have such a gift of teaching and wisdom. It blows my mind away.” She reminded me that I am really gifted at teaching Scripture to people, and unbeknownst to her, this was really encouraging to me because of the doubts I was having at the time. I don’t know if her purpose was to encourage me, but out of her love for me as a sister in Christ she felt she needed to share that with me, and it was really uplifting.
So remember to love yourself this Valentine’s Day and treat yo self. Remember also to love someone else. You never know what someone may be going through, and loving someone even in the simplest way can work wonders. Find a way to show someone how much God loves them. Be the light of the world, “so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).