by Leanne Guenther and Sharla Guenther
Valentine's Day is a special day of the year. There are parties, chocolates, cards, and candy with "Be Mine" written on them. Other than all that where does Valentine's Day come from?
There are several stories about a priest named Valentine who performed secret marriages when an emperor ordered that no young men should be married because they would be better soldiers in the war.
Another story is about a man named Valentine who fell in love with a girl while he was in jail. Just before he died he wrote her a love letter and signed it, "From your Valentine".
I don't know if these stories are true or not, I guess it doesn't really matter. I think the important part is: that we know what love is and know where it came from.
The Bible tells us that love is from God and that God is love. The neat thing about God's love is that it's not a feeling to him, he can't fall out of love with us. He loves us even when we're not loveable and when we're grumpy or doing bad things. He loves all of us no matter what.
The tricky part is loving others like God loves us. God's love is much different than the mushy kissy stuff that you see on TV or all around you. It's not bad to be mushy with your family but sometimes its harder to show other people how you love them. We can't just go around kissing everyone to show them our love!
There is a special kind of love we can have for others, it's called agape love. This doesn't have to be mushy love, just see people as God would see them. Pretend for a day that you have special glasses on and that everyone you see you love just because God loves them, like the way you love a mom or dad, brother or sister.
I'm sure you'll run into somebody you don't think deserves your love or you just don't want to love at all, but God loves them and if we love God we are supposed to love them too.
Who exactly are we supposed to love?
*Love your family
*Love your friends
*Love your neighbors
*Love your enemies
What are some ways that we can love God? It's not as hard as you think. How do you show others you love them? We talk to them, try to get to know them better, listen to them, and sometimes we do things for them. We can do all these things for God. We might not be able to touch Him but we can pray to God, read the Bible and learn about him, obey Him and do the things he asks us to do.
We are also supposed to love ourselves. This doesn't mean that we should think we're better than everybody else. We get this from a Bible verse that says do for others as you would want them to do for you. This means we should take care of ourselves. Things like looking before we cross the street, eating our vegetables, and getting a good sleep at night are ways we can do that. Remember that if you're a Christian the Spirit of God lives inside us and he wants us to treat ourselves with respect.
Loving our family is hopefully pretty easy. Even though we get mad at our parents sometimes because they don't let us do something, we still love them. Just remember that you are part of a family and nothing will ever change that. You should always be able to depend on each other and they'll be the ones to tell you the truth before anyone else.
Loving our friends should be easy because we pick the people we want to be friends with. The thing is, sometimes when we disagree with our friends we think we don't have to be their friend anymore, but God's love would ask us to forgive them and try to work things out.
Do you know who your neighbors are? Neighbors aren't just the people who live next to you but are everyone you might run into. I don't want to encourage you to run up to strangers but think about helping others with love. By helping an elderly lady who needs help with her groceries, returning a wallet found on the street, or even praying for people on the news that are in trouble are just a few ways to love a neighbor.
I hope you don't have any enemies but there will always be someone that you don't get along with or believes the opposite of what you believe. There are many, many people that don't believe in God and that purposely do things that hurt him and God still loves them. Loving people that bully us or our friends seems impossible, but it's not with God's help. By asking for God's help we will be able to love our enemies easier when we just can't do it on our own.
Learning to love like God takes a long time and takes God's help. It's easier to love than to hate, so have lots of fun learning to love God and everyone around you!
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