We met on the merry-go-round, or close to it. My wife and I knew each other in elementary school. We weren’t a “hot” item at first because my braces, blue glasses and favorite green pants didn’t quite highlight my hunkish physique and rugged good looks. Our romance started later, in high school, and led to getting married at the tender ages of 20 and 21.
After 22 years of marriage, I love her more than the day we exchanged vows. We’ve had a great life so far. She put me through college. We’ve moved a few times up and down I-35 between Kansas City and Iowa. Our 4 teenagers are teaching us about life – sometimes in exasperating ways. There have been ups and downs, but we’ve experienced what I would consider a blessed life.
Our love and friendship has grown so that I have a hard time imagining life without her. I can honestly say I would give my life for her. I haven’t really thought about how this could happen. Normally such a thing happens in the spur of a moment. It could mean a variety of things: pushing her out of the path of an oncoming car, racing into a burning building, or perhaps giving her my last kidney. I’ll probably never have to perform one of those heroic deeds, but I would.
That’s what true love does; it sacrifices itself for someone else.
On this Valentine’s Day I’m reminded of the great love God has for humanity. However, his love not only extends to those who love him, but also his enemies. A verse in Paul’s letter to the church in Rome says…
Romans 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
It’s common for someone today to die for a friend or loved one. But God allowed his son to die for His enemies. We would consider that unthinkable. Imagine giving your life for a Hitler, Sadaam Hussein, or Pol Pot. Our uniform response to seeing them in danger would be, “let them die, they deserve it.”
But God’s love is that much different than ours. He loves everyone, even his enemies. In fact, all of us are in that category because we’ve all sinned and violated his commands. But He died for us also. Because of His great love we can have peace with God through His Son.
So on this Valentine day take a moment to consider the greatest act of love ever shown: the death of Christ for people who hated him…including us.
Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have* peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.