Millennial Monday: Valentine’s Day ‘love your neighbor’ challenge
I don’t know exactly how it happened, but over the past few years (or so it seems) it’s like people are no longer allowed to enjoy Valentine’s Day without being shamed for celebrating someone in their life that they love.
Maybe this isn’t the case in your circle, but in mine, or more specifically, on my list of Facebook friends, there are a lot of people who just seem to hate Valentine’s Day. Sure, Hallmark and other big companies have capitalized on this holiday, making it super profitable for themselves.
But I like to think of myself as a Valentine’s Day purist. I’ve spent Valentine’s Days single, in a dating relationship and now married. But one thing I’ve always done, no matter my relationship status, is make sure to tell people that I hold dearest that I love them.
Some make the point that you shouldn’t need a holiday to tell someone you love them and do something special for them. I agree, you shouldn’t just tell the people you love how you feel just one day every year. However, what’s so wrong with making it an even bigger deal, or going further out of your way to tell someone you love them?
When I was single, I spent Valentine’s Day with my sisters and moms, three of the people I love most in this world. Those are times I look back on fondly. Could I have spent the day full of cynicism, brooding and wishing everyone happy around me would keep their joy to themselves? Sure. But would that have made me feel better?
When I was dating, I didn’t forget about my mom and sisters, or my friends, or my nephews, or other family members. No! Because Valentine’s Day isn’t just about expressing romantic love, Valentine’s Day is a day where we can live out Matthew 22, the greatest commandment ever given.
“‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ ‘This is the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
I’m not going to lie and say I enjoyed every single second of being single, but I can say I grew tremendously in that time and learned to look outward, and be happy for my friends who did have the God-honoring relationship of their dreams.
Here is my challenge to you, whether you’re single, dating, married or widowed: Take time this Valentine’s Day to show love to someone in a non-romantic way. Maybe visit a nursing home, or pay a visit to a widower. Maybe someone in your family needs your love and affection on Valentine’s Day? Maybe your significant other has made plans for the two of you, take time before those plans to bless someone else this Valentine’s Day. There is no shortage of ways you can tell someone you love them.
For example: Fold someone’s laundry in your home (This came to mind first because it’s one of my least favorite chores). Do the dishes for your mom or dad if you still live at home. If you have a roommate, be the first to take out the trash. If you have children, maybe take over one of your husband or wife’s daily duties with the kids and give them some time to relax. Take someone to coffee or lunch. I’ve found there are no shortage of people who like a free meal.
I challenge you this Valentine’s Day to not make the holiday about yourself, but make it a day to serve others. I can almost guarantee you it’ll be one of the most joyful days once you focus on showing your neighbors love rather than looking inward.