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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

Love Is a Frillly, Red Card?
Date Posted: February 10, 2007

Dear Faithful Readers: I know you've had a couple of weeks of "old favorites", but please enjoy just one more. As I thought about love and Valentine's Day, I knew I could not express it any better than Paul had in 1 Corinthians 13.

Hearts and roses are everywhere. Chocolate is prominently displayed at Wal-Mart. Most of the men you encounter are trying to ignore the signs or pretend they don't know what month it is.

For some of us Valentine's Day means romance and roses. For others, disappointment or disgust as the day is ignored by a spouse. For moms of grade school kids it might mean plowing through the class list as your child painstakingly writes each name on a Valentine. For a friend of mine who delivers wholesale roses by day and helps run a home-based chocolate business in the evenings, it means chaos and exhaustion!

But what does love have to do with a holiday that is named after an ancient "saint" and drowning in commercialism? Hallmark, Hershey and FTD will all tell you their product is the best way to show your love this year. Granted, for some of us chocolate does equal love, but that's another column!

What does God have to say about love? As far as I know chocolate is not found in the bible (I'm still searching!). But love is mentioned a few times.

We are told that God shows his love for us in this: while we were yet sinners, he sent his son to die for us. This is the love that is most important to Christians, as it means grace, salvation and eternal life with God. It is the love we need to share with others so they can know Him.

But how do we express that love? How do we live it? Scripture also tells us, "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend." That's certainly a hard one to live up to.

What about 1 Corinthians 13, "the love chapter":
Love is patient -- yet I berate my husband when he doesn't clean out the basement or gather up the tax information as quickly as I want him to.
Love is kind -- yet I yell at the kids when they make a mess of the house and beg for candy and toys when we go shopping because I've had a bad day surrounded by critical people.
Love does not envy -- yet I am jealous to the point of anger that my neighbor gets to be a full-time stay-at-home mom and drive a new van, while I work two part-time jobs and drive something 14 years old.
Love is not self-seeking -- yet I pout and whine until I get my way, or my husband's attention, when I feel he has neglected me because of a busy week at work.
Love is not easily angered -- yet I use words like "stupid" and "lousy" to describe the driver who just cut me off, while my kids listen in the back seat.
Love keeps no record of wrongs -- yet I remember how that woman at church criticized my child's behavior when her child is certainly no angel, and I know exactly which years my husband forgot Valentine's Day.

I have to confess I have been guilty of most of these loveless acts a one time or another. So I pray this scripture, that I might remember what love is.

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth -- so I will stand up for God and godly events and organizations in my community and school.
Love always protects -- so I will be an encourager to those I love and anyone around me who needs extra love and kindness.
Love always trusts -- so I will put my faith in God and ask for guidance in doing His will and I will be open and loving with my spouse.
Love always hopes -- so I will keep my eyes fixed on Christ and remember what I have to look forward to someday, regardless of how badly my day has gone.
Love always perseveres -- so I will continue to pray for the lost around me and the seemingly hopeless situations, I will share Christ with those who want to hear and those who don't.

This week, read 1 Corinthians 13 and plug in your own personal experiences regarding the qualities of love. And buy yourself a box of chocolate!

Happy Valentine's Day!

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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