February 14, 2014
We live in loveless culture. In many ways we are more full of love than ever before. The sales of romantic novels are booming. Hollywood can’t keep up with the demand for romantic films. Even everyday items in shops are marketed by women’s bodies (check out the pictures next time you wander through Sainsburys). And then there is Valentine’s day. Britons spent a whopping £978m on Valentine’s day in 2012 with that figure being an increase of almost 10% from 2011. In many ways our culture is obsessed with romance, sex and love.
But then there’s the other side of the coin. Valentine’s day is just one day after all. What happens for the rest of the year? Domestic violence is on the up; it accounts for 10% of emergency calls. In 2011/2012 police reported 800,000 incidents of domestic violence. Statistics published in 2012 found that 42% of marriages in the UK end in divorce. And today there will be many people who are lonely, abandoned and hurting, feeling very unloved indeed.
So is there any hope of finding love? Are we doomed to spend our lives seeking something that will never be found; true, deep and lasting love? There is hope but it comes from a place that many British people really hate. The Bible says that love comes from God, (1 John 4:7). We live in a loveless culture because we live in a Godless culture. More than ever, we don’t want God. God created humans to live in a loving relationship with Him. Once that relationship is good we are enabled to love each other. The problem is that we couldn’t care less about God if we tried. Most people don’t love God and all of us do things that God tells us not to (check out the Ten Commandments if you’re in any doubt). If God made us then He knows how we work best. As with anything else, it makes more sense to follow the maker’s instructions that go at it our own way.
But God offers us a relationship. He offers us love. Despite the fact that we have spat in His face and run away from him He still offers love. And we see that in Jesus. God loved the world enough to send his son to die a bloody and horrible death for us so that we could enjoy his love. Jesus speaks these words to us today: “come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28).
And so we can respond to God asking him for that relationship. “Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days,” (Psalm 90:14). We will always be tempted to seek love from those around us, but our first need is to be delighting in God. To be loved and to love in return, will never be fulfilled by Valentine’s day. Flowers fade and die. God’s love doesn’t.
By Thomas van den Broek