By: Ginger Hughes

Before there were chocolates in red, heart-shaped boxes and sugared candies that say “Be Mine.”

Before there were fancy dinners at steakhouses and expensive gifts of jewels and fine metals.

Before all of the pomp and circumstance of Valentine’s Day, there was a man named Valentine.

According to church tradition, Valentine was a priest near Rome around 270 AD.  This was during the time that the Roman Emperor was imprisoning Christians for not worshipping the Roman gods, and Valentine was among those arrested.

He was held on charges of helping Christians escape prison and also for performing Christian marriages.  During the trial, they asked Valentine what he thought about the Roman gods Jupiter and Mercury.  He replied that there was only one true God, our Lord Jesus Christ, and upon hearing this, the Romans threw him into prison.

While in prison, Valentine continued to share Christ by witnessing to the guards, the very ones who held him captive.  When the Emperor heard this news, he became furious and ordered that Valentine be beheaded.  He was martyred on February 14th.

Valentine surely would have known that he would eventually get caught in his Christian activities.  He would have certainly understood that once caught, he would be arrested and that if he continued to share Christ, it could result in death.

He would have realized these things. However, he did them anyway.

Why did he do this?

Because Valentine loved Jesus so much that he wanted to share Him with others.  And not only did he love Jesus, but he loved others enough to risk his own life so they might know Christ.

Do we love anyone like that today?  More specifically, do we love people who are different than we are, people who have different political views, or even those with different religious affiliations?  Do we love strangers, people we’ve never met, or even enemies who have harmed us in some way?  And do we love Christ enough to share Him with all people?

I think we all know the answer to this.

And friends, this is why we need to make some changes.

Yes, the chocolates, cards, and flowers are all lovely.  But these are not love.

Love is action.  Love is sacrifice.  Love is a choice.

We can choose love today.

The only question is…will we?

-Ginger Hughes is the wife of a pastor, a mother of two and an accountant. She is a Georgia native currently living in the foothills of North Carolina. Her passion for writing is fueled by the desire to offer encouragement, grace and a deeper understanding that we are all God’s children. Her blogging for Nurturing Faith is sponsored by a gift from First Baptist Church of Gainesville, Ga. Additional writings may be found at nomamasperfect.com.

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