Valentine’s Day is typically considered a holiday for love, but it is as much about justice as love. St. Valentine was a roman priest under Emperor Claudius. Claudius prohibited young people from marrying believing it would interfere with a soldiers duty. Valentine believed strongly in the sanctity of marriage and secretly married young Christians. For taking a stand against an unjust law, Valentine was imprisoned and ultimately killed in 269 AD.
Our ideas of love are often focused on feelings rather than conviction. When God says He loves justice (Isa. 61:8), He is committed to bringing justice to our broken world. He did this by sending His son to die for our sins, so we might live. That is the good news of the gospel. But Jesus also came to show us how to live. If we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves, this must be more than a feeling but a commitment. We are to be fully committed to the Lord and committed to loving our neighbor through justice, mercy and compassion. What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. Mic. 6:8.
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn; the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” Ps. 37:5-6. That is what St. Valentine did. He stood against injustice. He stood for love.
We can be grateful that we live in a nation where standing against unjust laws does not result in torture and death. Yet our comfort can become our captivity. We get lulled into apathy. Love requires action. If we are to love God and our neighbor we should stand for justice. We should engage in systemic issues even as we serve one person at a time. St. Valentine did both. He stood against an unjust law as he served young people, one couple at a time.
We have great opportunity to do the same. We can love our neighbor through practical compassion and justice ministry in our local community through partnership with Gospel Justice Initiative. And such a partnership pulls people together to address unjust systemic issues from unfair payday lending, to trafficking, to immigration and other legal issues. Learn more of how you can get involved in loving justice by attending one of our introductory Justice for All in Our Community Conferences. Let’s pursue the heart of God as we do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with Him. Let’s listen to His voice, follow His lead, and commit ourselves to
Go and Do Likewise.