He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not ~ perhaps you recited these words as you pulled the petals from a flower, one by one, to try to determine whether the one you love will truly returns your love. It always seemed like a childhood game.
But more and more it seems that marriages reflect the sentiment of those words.
On this Valentine's Day Eve, husbands and wives will stand in the aisles of Walgreen's to find a card that expresses the words they meant to say to one another throughout the year. There will be dozens of roses delivered. The sweet smell of chocolate will fill the air. And couples will say I love you in the glow of candlelight.
I don't mean to sound cynical, but on Monday, February 15th, lives will once again be overflowing with the demands of the dailies ~ dirty dishes, unpaid bills, loads of laundry, sick children, upside down mortgages, furlough days, dead batteries ~ you name it! ~ any number of situations that create a climate of crisis for the family. The romance of Valentine's Day will quickly be replaced with the challenging day-to-day responsibilities of life, and a commitment to love one another will once again fall victim to circumstances.
Lack of commitment is not new. It is not unique to this generation of over-stressed, economically-strapped Americans. Even in the first century, a series of oaths were required to guarantee that one’s commitment would remain true. Jesus enters this system of oaths and offers a solution.
In Matthew 5, His words seem almost too simple to be taken seriously ~
Let what you say be simply Yes or No.
The people of that day would recognize Jesus' use of a cultural idiom. Jesus is basically saying ~
Let your inside Yes match your outside Yes,
and your inner No match your outer No.
In essence ~ mean what you say and say what you mean.
Anything less is duplicity, doubleness, sin ~ saying one thing, living another.
Oh that we would choose today to be transformed and live a life of love that is characterized by commitment, not duplicity ~ where the words and tones we use, and the actions we display, would truly communicate an unconditional love. A love lived out everyday ~ not just on Valentine's Day.
A love that says to one another in spite of the dailies . . .
I love you and there is nothing you can do about it!