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The Word on the Week

Love is a five letter word

The postman was never more popular than on St Valentine’s Day! There was a macho air of indifference abroad but the reality was more like suppressed expectation. Alas these expectations went largely unfulfilled although I seem to remember a card with “guess who” written in a disguised hand. I never did guess who!

Electronic gadgets and the advent of social networks have knocked the bottom out of the card market. I think we have lost that innocent attraction created by the mystery of the unknown admirer. An attraction which cannot be replicated in the traceable communications of today!

It is a far cry from the Valentine’s Day of yesterday to the launching of the film “The 50 Shades of Grey” today. It seems to pander to female fantasies – it was reported that there were only three men spotted in the capacity first night audience!

From the comments in the media the film has little or nothing to do with love but deals with selfish gratification at the expense of others. Sadly the “others” are sufficiently deluded to enter voluntarily into the degrading arrangements.

There is not much new in all this except that it has moved out of the ‘red light’ areas and been brought into the house and given its own room. It is really sad that the ‘sexual revolution’ of last century which promised empowerment for women has resulted increasingly in bondage.

There are a number of words used in the Bible to express love. Philia was used for family love and friendships of a non-sexual nature and eros for the latter. In order to describe the self-giving love of God the writers of scripture used agape. It took on the meaning of sacrificial love which is demonstrated in the life of Christ. This is unselfish love which loved without much of a reciprocal response.

It is nothing like the self-seeking stuff of today which cares little for others and much for self-gratification. This underlying attitude is so widespread that it affects us all. None can claim immunity. We are made that way.

So do we listen to the word when it says “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1 Corinthians Chapter 6 verse 18). It is a process of self destruction. It robs a person of peace of mind and wrecks relationships as people regard each other ‘after the flesh’ 2 Corinthians Chapter 5 verse 16).

The writer goes on to say a change has taken place in the lives of Jesus followers. They have looked for and found forgiveness from the Man who took their guilt. He has put His Spirit within them so that they now have a new allegiance. And out of this new allegiance they know that they are loved with an everlasting love – one which enables them to live for Jesus and share His life with others.

Now wouldn’t it be good if this St Valentine’s Day you got a card with “guess who” and a great big cross and the agape that it stands for filled your life!