A Love That Says I Matter
This week our daughter-in-law shared pictures of our grandson preparing valentines for all of his friends at daycare. She mentioned how excited he was as he made each one. My, oh, my, how this reminded me of so many valentine memories. I can still remember my own kids carefully choosing just the right card for each classmate, not to mention their joy in receiving their bags of valentines to enjoy over and over, and over again.
Even after all these years, I, too, can remember the joy of giving and receiving those childhood valentines. I am sure that these memories are sparked by the emotions we all experience to feel accepted, cared for, and loved. Each of us want to matter to someone in some way.
I recently stumbled across the following quote by Elie Wiesel, a Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. Wiesel stated: “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
Is this not so true? The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. We don’t hate others. We just don’t care very much. Yet, our Heavenly Father, on the same night that He was betrayed, told His disciples: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). And then He added: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another” (John 13:35).
Jesus didn’t say to just love others when we felt like it, when we weren’t busy, when they loved us first or loved us back, or even when they deserved our love or when we agreed with them. He said to love others “as I have loved you.” Jesus loved us and gave His life to save us while we were still sinners (see Romans 5:8). I didn’t deserve what Christ did – and does – for me, yet He loves me and wants me to show His love to others – because everyone matters to God.
One of my favorite Scriptures is Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” This verse reminds me of the joyful love of my Heavenly Father. He is the One who truly meets the longing of every soul. My God….
- is with me
- is mighty and will save
- rejoices over me with gladness
- quiets me with His love
- rejoices over me with singing
This is a God who says that you and I really matter. We’re not just a number or one of a group. He knows us, walks with us, rescues us, delights in us, gives us rest and peace, and rejoices over us even as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride (see Isaiah 62:5b).
In a lot of ways, those childhood valentines are good reminders for us as well. They are given freely, willingly, and joyfully, to everyone without reservation – simply to say I love you. I’d say that’s a good first step in learning to show Christ’s love to others – and to let others know that they matter, too!