February 2023

Reflections from the Pew

Valentine’s Day reminds us of the importance of expressing our love to those close to us. But how can we go beyond simply offering flowers and a card? Jesus says: ‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another’ (John 13:34). How can we express love like Jesus in our everyday relationships to our partner, children, neighbours or work colleagues?

We need to listen to others, just as Jesus did. He asked questions of people and waited for them to process their answer. According to James, ‘everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry’ (James 1:19). How well do we listen to others? How often do we find ourselves already thinking of what we want to say before somebody’s finished speaking? Listening takes time; don’t rush it!

Jesus reached out to touch the untouchables in His world, including lepers, the sick and children. This was completely out of character for rabbis of His day. For us today, a warm handshake may be of value. Of course, it should always be an appropriate touch – helpful for the other person, not just for ourselves.

Jesus’ conversation was always full of grace and truth (John 1:14). Do we speak words of grace, by offering comfort, giving encouragement or expressing care and concern? However, we should also be ready to speak words of truth, in asking for forgiveness, seeking reconciliation or addressing conflict. As Paul urges us, don’t avoid: ‘speaking the truth in love’.

Where is the challenge for us in expressing love this Valentine’s Day?

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