Valentines is a day dedicated to show and share love. Unfortunately, we are all too eger to share our thoughts and show our contempt for those who think, act or behave differently than ourselves. It has caused a large division within our society. There has always been division in humanity. Ever since Cain and Abel we have seen jealousy, fear, envy, distrust and misunderstanding. People have always had prejudices, which means pre-judge or to form an opinion that is not based on fact. Sometimes it is an unconscious bias against a person, race, or gender. It does not help that the media loves to stereotype people and people groups. None of this is new. In Galatians 3:28 Paul says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Even two thousand years ago people were labeled by race, gender and class.
When I was ten, my family moved from Mexico to New Jersey. As a third culture kid and new to a small community, I stood out like a sore thumb. I tried my best to fit in, but the US culture was foreign to him. I had a number of misunderstandings with other kids, mostly because I really didn’t know any better. Somehow, I got on the wrong side of the playground bully. The bully, Nelson, was also a third culture kid as he was originally from Puerto Rico. Nelson called me out to a fight one day after class. I had no interest in fighting him and had no idea why Nelson wanted to beat me up.
As I walked home that day, a group of kids had gathered to watch the beat down. I had made up my mind to talk some sense into Nelson. When I approached him, I asked Nelson why he was mad. Nelson said I had called his mother a name. Besides not knowing what the name was, I denied ever saying anything about him or his mother. Apparently someone just wanted me to get beat up. Unfortunately, since a crowd had gathered, Nelson needed to do something to keep his reputation intact, even though he believed me. Choosing not to get a black eye, I decided to duck and run. Nelson landed a blow on my back as the crowd cheered and heckled me as I ran away.
The next day I approached Nelson to let him know that I had not made any derogatory remarks against his mother. It was not who I was. We talked for a bit and eventually reconciled our differences. We became really good friends for the next few of years while I lived in the community. If I had not sought to reconcile with Nelson, I would have missed out on this friendship. While God call us to reconcile with each other (Matthew 5:23-24), His ultimate desire is for us to be reconciled with Himself. We are called to be ministers of reconciliation, where we are helping others be reconciled with Jesus. We are to help others know Jesus as their Lord and Savior so they can also be sons and daughters of God.
Unfortunately, our society is all about division. It might be politics, religion, race, gender, sexual preference. Everyone feels it is better to condemn and ridicule versus loving and accepting. We don’t all have to agree with each other. In fact, that is not a good thing. We need to bring our differences, our experiences, our skills, our background to make things better. We were made unique and different. It is time we celebrate our differences and simply love one another. I encourage everyone to try blessing others. Celebrate the differences through the love of Jesus. “For God so loved the world He sent His only Son to die for us.” This way we can be reconciled with God, just as we reconcile with each other!
Give someone a Valentines present!
Is there anyone you have an issue with? Anyone who has wronged your or you have wronged? Today, make the decision to reconcile with them. Raise the white flag of peace and go make it right with the other person. Maybe it is a family member or old friend. Maybe it is a co-worker or a child. Whoever it is, put on the mind of Christ, set aside any pride and make amends.