Valentines’ Day reminds us of the importance of expressing our love to those close to us. But how can we go beyond simply flowers and a card? Jesus says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). How can we express love in our everyday relationships like Jesus i.e. spouse, children, neighbours or work colleagues?
We need to listen to others, just as Jesus did. He asked questions of people and waited for them to process their answer. According to James, “everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). How well do we listen to others? When with somebody, do we find ourselves already thinking of what we want to say before they’ve finished speaking? Listening takes time; you can’t rush it!
Jesus reached out to touch the untouchables in his world, including lepers, the sick and children. This was completely out of character for rabbis of his day. One survey has suggested that we all need at least 8-10 meaningful touches a day to maintain emotional health! A warm handshake, touch on the arm or hug can be of real value. Of course, it should be appropriate touch – helpful for the other person, not just for ourselves.
Jesus’ conversation was always full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Do we speak words of , by offering comfort, giving encouragement or expressing care and concern? However, we should also be ready to speak words of , in asking for forgiveness, seeking reconciliation or addressing conflict. As Paul urges us, don’t avoid “speaking the truth in love”.
Where is the challenge for us in expressing love this Valentine’s Day?