It is February. Overcast, chilly, bleak-and-barren February. If you’re not into skiing the slopes, skating on ice, or singin’ in the rain, there’s not a lot outside to excite you. Sure was gracious of God to make it last only 28 days...well, sometimes 29. No wonder bears hibernate at this time of year—there’s not even Monday Night Football!
But wait. There is something extra special about February. Valentine’s Day. Hearts and flowers. Sweetheart banquets. A fresh and needed reminder that there is still a heart-shaped vacuum in the human breast that only the three most wonderful words in the English language can fill.
Don’t think for a moment that such stuff is mere sentimentality. As a fellow named Smiley Blanton put it in his book many years ago, life really does boil down to Love or Perish:
Without love, hopes perish.
Without love, dreams and creativity perish.
Without love, families and churches perish.
Without love, friendships perish.
Without love, the intimacies of romance perish.
Without love, the desire to go on living can perish.
To love and to be loved is the bedrock of our existence.
But love must also flex and adapt. Rigid love is not true love. It is veiled manipulation, a conditional time bomb that explodes when frustrated. Genuine love willingly waits! It isn’t pushy or demanding. While it has its limits, its boundaries are far-reaching. It neither clutches nor clings. Real love is not short-sighted, selfish, or insensitive. It detects needs and does what is best for the other person without being told.
As we read in that greatest treatise ever written on the subject: “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears...believes...hopes...endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4–7 NASB).
Do I write today to a friend? Is love a dominant force in your friendship...or has jealousy, arrogance, or perhaps a subtle competitive spirit driven a wedge between the two of you? Love, remember, doesn’t seek its own way.
Are my words being read by a husband or a wife? Does your mate know how greatly you treasure her or him? Do you tell her...show her? Left him a love note lately? How about a candlelight dinner? Remember when you said “I do”? This is the month to add two more words: “I do love you.”
Those simple little words—we so easily forget to say them. We assume others know how we feel, so we hold back. Strangely, as we grow older and realize more than ever the value of those three powerful words, we say them even less!
“I LOVE YOU.” Simple, single-syllable words, yet they cannot be improved upon. Nothing even comes close. They are better than “You’re great.” Much better than “Happy birthday!” or “Congratulations!” or “You’re special.” And because we don’t have any guarantee we’ll have each other forever, it’s a good idea to say them as often as possible.
It is February. Overcast, chilly, bleak-and-barren February. But when you add love, the whole month gathers a glow about it. So—love!
Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, “A Month for Love,” in The Finishing Touch: Becoming God’s Masterpiece (Dallas: Word, 1994), 58–59. Copyright © 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.