Do you remember preparing valentines for your class at school? You’d go to the dime store with your mom and pick out a box of 30 little perforated cards, each with a corny valentine sentiment. Once home, you’d review your class list and begin sorting and addressing the cards.
Special friends would get the best ones, with a few more words added to convey they were part of your most beloved circle of friends. Others were simply signed. Then you’d try to cross the last couple recipients off the list—but your mom wouldn’t let you.
Sure, we’re supposed to love everyone unconditionally. But there will always be a few people in our lives whom we love more. It’s a matter of our human nature, the limits of our time and energy, and (let’s be honest) our tendency to love people who love us back. Our love is not unconditional; it’s reciprocal. Even with those we love with all our hearts, our affections are often altered by expectations, negotiations, and allowances. People don’t make our loved list by accident.
Our love is broken because we are broken. It’s imperfect because we are imperfect. We strive to love like God loves, but we are not God.
That’s why it is so good to know that God’s loved list is long and thorough. His list does not have favorites circled or others scratched off. He loves us all. And Oh! How He loves us!
On this Valentine’s Day, remember Paul’s words about God’s love:
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (NKJV)
God’s love is not influenced by our behavior. He does not turn away because of our inability to love Him back the way we should. He is not limited by the hours of His day or the amount of energy He has. Because God is God, His love is in no way constrained. Nothing can separate us from His love, because He loves us without reservation.
Dr. Stanley talks about the sacrificial love of God in his message “No Greater Love.”