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Welcome to iwantthemtoremember.com! This is the fifth day of a week of Valentine’s Devotions for Families using Biblical passages on love.
If your family is at all like mine, you need Biblical reminders of how to love one another all year long, but the Valentine season is a great time to emphasize God’s teachings on love. Spend a week in February (or anytime really) encouraging your family to love with Valentine’s devotions. I suggest you start the Sunday before Valentine’s and celebrate love all week, but you can use them however is best for your family. Links for each day will be added at the end of this post as they are complete. I pray these Valentine’s Devotions bless your family in Christ.
Click here to start with Day One.
Choose one person to be “it” first. He or she will either sit on the lap or kneel in front of another family member and say, “Honey, if you love me, would you please, please smile.” The person tries to answer, “Honey, I love you, but I just can’t smile,” without smiling. If the person smiles, he or she becomes “it”. If not, “it” can try again or ask another person. Play until everyone has had a turn to be “it”.
On Day Four we looked at the most important commandment: Love God. Today, we will look at the second most important: Love others. Jesus said all of the law and prophets can be summarized in these two commandments.
Love Your Neighbor
Read Luke 10:25-28.
When we love our neighbor as ourself, we will not want to do anything to harm others. We will find it easier to show kindness and patience which are the primary characteristics of love we studied on Day Two. However, like the man in the passage, sometimes we want to justify ourselves when we choose who is worthy of our love instead of loving everyone. We need this story just as Jesus’s original listeners did.
Who is my neighbor?
Read Luke 10:29-37.
The first man in the story really needed a neighbor. He could do nothing to help himself. Without a neighbor he had no hope. Sometimes, when we see someone in need, we assume someone else will do it or that the situation is really not that bad.
We tend to be very hard on the priest and Levite who passed by the man in need. It’s easy to assume they were just uncaring or overly concerned about defiling themselves. Instead, let’s give them the benefit of a doubt. Both might have had many good excuses. Maybe they were in a hurry for a good reason. They were important people who were expected to keep appointments and serve in the temple and synagogues. Maybe they had family to attend to or friends who were depending on them. Perhaps they honestly didn’t have the money to help or were in need themselves. Maybe they felt that same twinge of guilt we sometimes feel when we casually pass by a homeless person or ignore someone sitting alone at school.
Unfortunately, we often find ourselves identifying with the priest and the Levite more than most of us would like to admit.
When hope was fading for the injured man, the Samaritan came along. Samaritans had ancestors who were both Jews and Gentiles. Because of this, the Jews looked down them with a proud, arrogant attitude that did not show the kind of love we studied in 1 Corinthians 13 on Day 2. Still, this man was the one who was willing to put aside his plans to help the man. He gave both of his time and money without excuse.
So who is our neighbor? Anyone in need whom we are able to help. Whether family, friends, or strangers, no matter how different they are from us, Jesus calls us to show mercy to our neighbor in need.
Known By Love
In John 13:35, Jesus said people will know we are His disciples, not by how much we go to church, how good we are, or how many Bible verses we can quote, but by how we love each other. God repeats the command to love one another at least fifteen times throughout the New Testament, and even says we do not really love Him if we do not love others. (1 John 4:7-8). He is serious about this “love your neighbor” business.
Family Affirmation and Application
Your family members are your first and closest neighbors. How are you loving them? The people we love most are often the ones we treat the worst. As you consider how to love your neighbor, start with your family. Think of one way you can show love to each person this week. Ask each family member to share one way he or she will try to show love at home.
Then, as a family, discuss how you can show love to a neighbor in need, whether next door or across the world. Plan a specific action and day to love, not just in word, but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18)
Worship through Song
If time permits, listen to one of the following songs, depending on the ages of your children.
Father, please forgive us for ignoring our neighbor in need. Whether it is our own family or someone we really don’t like, help us to show Christ-like love whenever you give us the opportunity. In Jesus name, amen.
More Valentine’s Devotions for Families
Thank you for joining me for Valentine’s Devotions for Families. I am sharing this with my children and youth group because I want them to remember the importance of living a life of love. I hope it helps your loved ones remember as well.
To continue with Seven Days of Valentine’s Devotions for Families see the links below.
Day One: Without Love
Day Two: Love Is . . .
Day Three: How He Loves
Day Four: Love God
Day Five: Love Others
Day Six: Love Yourself
Day Seven: True Love