People to love this week

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and all across America kids (and parents) have been busy working on making a Valentine for every single person in the class. 

Back in the day, you only gave Valentine’s cards to the people you really liked. Schools caught on a while ago that no one should get left out on feeling the love, so now they send home a list of all the students in class to make sure that no one gets overlooked. These days, every kid gets a card with a sticker or candy or pencil or some handmade creation. 

As much as I’m not a proponent of the whole everyone-should-get-a-trophy thing, I do believe in the everyone-should-feel-loved thing. So, since love is a prominent theme this week, I made a list so we make sure that everyone feels the love. (FYI: I didn’t come up with this list on my own. I just found God’s list and am sharing it with you.)

  1. God. This one should be fairly obvious, but sometimes we all need the reminder to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22.37). The temptation is to spend so much of our time and attention on the people around us, but first we send our love letters to God. We fill up on the things he has to say to us, then we talk to him about what’s on our hearts, and then we can go out and love the people around us.
  2. The people you meet. When Jesus says, “Love one another” (John 13:34), he gives us a far-reaching opportunity. He means the people you hang out with, the parents in the bleachers, the woman who’s running late and would really appreciate if you let her go in front of you at the coffee shop. Loving your neighbor means stepping in and helping the man who fell at the store, sitting down and putting your arm around the kid from the other team who’s broken up about the loss. 
  3. Your enemies. Well, this one doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies, but when Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44), he’s not saying that love is optional or easy. This is the God-man whose own family thought he was crazy, lived in lonely places, and—all because he loves you—endured whippings, beatings, and dying on the cross. I’m not saying this to guilt you into loving your enemies. It’s simply a reminder that Jesus knows just how hard this command is—and he’s with you every step of the way. 
  4. Your fellow Christians. This one is an acknowledgement that while you might give every kid a Valentine, sometimes you give an extra candy bar to your closest friends. God tells us to do that to the people around us who love Jesus: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10). This planet is not friendly to people who are on Team Jesus. In fact, people around the world are killed simply because they refuse to deny him. Maybe that isn’t happening where you live, but you know the pull to go along with temptation is strong. The believers around you really do need the extra encouragement and love that you can offer.

Which other people make your list of people who need your love? Share them in the comments! 

 

Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who is beyond thankful that her kids are old enough and no longer make Valentine’s for their classmates.

 

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