Valentine's Day, the day when we are encouraged to show our love to the special people in our lives, is just around the corner. We each have the capacity to feel love in a variety of ways. We love people - our family and close friends. We love things - good food, coffee, our home, a favorite vacation spot. We love activities - hiking, sports, baking, reading a good book. Saying that we love someone or something is one way that we express our feelings.
1 John 4:19 says, "We love because God first loved us." God loves each of us with unwavering love. That means that we are loved no matter what we have done or left undone, no matter what we have said or left unsaid.
We can't earn, or lose, God's love. God first loved us, and God continues to love each us - no matter what. Our response to God's love is to love others. In John 13:34, we read Jesus' words instructing us to "...Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other." Jesus' example of love is unconditional and sacrificial.
Jesus reached out, over and over again, to those who felt unloved: the widow, the orphan, the prisoner, the outcast. Jesus reached out to those who may otherwise have been overlooked, with care and compassion. Jesus loved them, just as He loves us. That kind of love is our example, and that kind of love is for every day of the year.
Michelle Andrews is director of discipleship and care at Valencia United Methodist Church. www.umcv.org