SPECIAL NOTE FOR YOUTH & YOUTH PARENTS (see below)!
What are you doing on Friday? (multiple choice)
- Swapping candy and silly cards with classmates and teachers
- Going on a date with a special someone or a group of friends
- Attending an anti-Valentine’s event for fun
- Nothing to celebrate…it’s just another day
Loving or Lacking?
Valentine’s Day brings out a range of emotions. Sometimes there are feelings of gooey love and the warm and fuzzies for our dear friendships and/or romantic relationship. Other times, we might feel terrible and dread February 14. It’s understandable–this holiday can highlight our feelings of lacking something…lacking popularity, lacking a healthy relationship, lacking close friendships. Sometimes it can be awkward, when you aren’t sure how to express to another how you feel or don’t have the financial or creative resources to gift others. For some of us, we draw our value and worth from a day like Valentine’s Day. (It’s really easy to do!) Full of wisdom, Jesus has something to say about our worth and belonging:
Valentine’s Day: 2 Things
An awesome blog from Sparkhouse (a publisher that provides materials for our kids and youth BFGs) mentions two crucially important points about our self-worth:
- “Our true worth is located in our identity as children of God who are created in God’s image, not in the way others feel about us.” Sometimes Jesus was super popular, speaking to crowds of thousands, and those same crowds that loved him turned against him within a week and asked for him to be killed. Even his closest friends abandoned, denied, and betrayed him. If you are lonely, if you’re unpopular, if your friends aren’t acting the way friends should, if people are talking behind your back, you’re in good company. And while things may improve for you in less dramatic ways than they did for Jesus with the resurrection, things will improve.
2. “Real love from one human being to another is not about buying someone roses or chocolates.” When we in the church think about love, we may think of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” This is a good place to start—a better place to start, certainly, than the materialistic messages that claim love is all about gifts that people buy for each other at stores. Yet we need to be careful with how we read and talk about a love that “endures all things.” We must have this non-boastful, non-arrogant love for ourselves first and foremost, not to hold ourselves above others but to keep ourselves safe from abuse and to leave situations that become toxic. We are not required to endure these things. (If you are in an unhealthy relationship, please talk a trustworthy family member/pastor/friend.) Equipped with this love for ourselves, we can proceed into healthy, life-giving relationships with each other, honest and real relationships that rejoice in the truth of Christ’s love for all.
So, as we approach Valentine’s Day, remind yourself and your loved ones that our value is not located in our popularity or relationship status. And it is really important to work toward healthy relationships, recognizing any sort of mistreatment or abuse as something we need to distance ourselves from. A holiday about love should make people feel included and valued, not alienated.