Beyond Borders: Back to Saint Valentine’s Day: What does the Word of God say about it?

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By Sulaiman Momodu

14 February was Saint Valentine’s Day. In Sierra Leone, many people usually look forward to it mostly for the wrong reasons. Our schools have been contaminated with the craze and some adults see the day as a golden opportunity to commit more sinful acts and paint their places of work, villages, and city – red.

Forgive me for sounding preachy. But if I may ask, what did you do on Saint Valentine’s Day? Do you even know how the day came about? And more importantly, what kind of love did you share on that day?

I feel compelled to share my thoughts and hope you will find it helpful. Love, they say, is stronger than pain. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did the celebration of the day begin? If the day has SAINT, what does the word of God say about it?  Is it a religious event or a worldly satanic activity?

 Once again, what does the Word of God say about Saint Valentine’s Day? Well, since the origin of Valentine’s Day dates back to the 14th century, the Word of God doesn’t have any specific messages about the day. However, we all know that the Word of God has a lot to say about love. We have for “God so loved the world…”.

Which is the greatest of all commandments? “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and first commandment.” And the second? “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”

The history of the celebration of Valentine’s Day is somewhat murky. Some people believe that the day originated as a Christian feast day honouring a martyr named Valentine. Saint Valentine is said to have served in third-century Rome. Emperor Claudius decided that single men made better soldiers therefore he banned soldiers from being married. One version of the story is that Valentine continued to perform the weddings of young soldiers who were in love, and Claudius had Valentine imprisoned. While imprisoned, Valentine reportedly fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and when he was taken to be killed, Valentine sent her a card and signed it, “Love, your Valentine.”  Some people believe or claim that the church may have decided to “Christianize” a pagan Roman celebration Lupercalia. The debate continues.

In Sierra Leone, how many times does “love” appear in our national anthem? The first stanza says:

High we exalt thee, realm of the free;
Great is the love we have for thee;
Firmly united ever we stand,
Singing thy praise, O native land.
We raise up our hearts and our voices on high,
The hills and the valleys re-echo our cry;
Blessing and peace be ever thine own,
Land that we love, our Sierra Leone.

Do we really love our country? Do we really have GREAT love for the place we call home? Please don’t guess the answer. My encouragement to you today is – if we would learn to let the divine love of God dominate us, it would make a real difference in our lives and cure the ills in our lives, homes, offices, places of worship, communities, and nation. Please note that natural human love can turn to hatred when it doesn’t get its way. Tell me, what do we usually do to people we profess to love during hard times or when they fall sick? We usually wait for them to die and then we contribute to bury them, or we pray for them to die so we can greedily take their hard-earned possessions. Circumstances change today, love dies. Understand this. The God-kind of love is not interested in what I can get, but in what I can give. Personally, intentionally seeking the Lord over the years and falling in love with His Word has been a life-changing experience. My perspective about life has changed. I exercise regularly, remain in excellent health, and don’t sleep with one eye closed. Also, I am enjoying inner peace which no money or political power or position can buy.

As children of God, the nature of God is in us, and God’s nature is love. Please release the love of God that is within you not just on Saint Valentine’s Day but always. Best wishes!

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