History has a way of repeating itself. Mostly, because humanity has refused to learn from the events of the past. Watching a movie on GoTv African Magic Epic today, I observed how a young man, repeatedly professed love to a young lady, whose heart he broke many times, after getting her pregnant, severally.
The intriguing, yet heartbreaking thing about the episode is the young lady’s obsession with love (lust) and fall for the young man’s deceit. She never learned from her mistakes, from the previous incidents. In the end, she ended up committing suicide.
Valentine’s Day, otherwise known as the ‘Lover’s Day’ is around the corner, just a few more days. Preparations are in top gear. People are shopping and hotels, restaurants and other event centers are already being overbooked for the day. The big question remains: what are people celebrating on that day? Is the day really for the celebration of love, or lust, or of the lost? If Valentine Day is for the celebration of love and not lust and of the lost, we would not be having the high incidences of STDs, pregnancy, and other social vices on that day, and a month after the event. For instance, it is estimated that there is about a 70% increase in the sale of condoms during and around Valentine’s Day. In addition to the above, STDs and pregnancy increase by as much as 50% and 13%, respectively, following the celebration of Valentine. This shows the level of amorous activities that characterize the celebration of Valentine’s Day.
Let us carefully look at the concepts of love, lust, and the lost. As a Christian, the only love that is acceptable to me is the one contained in the book of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Here, the bible says *“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth”*. While it is good to let someone know they are loved and appreciated, any celebration of love that is incongruent with the above characteristics is not about love, but, lust and of the lost. More so, love is a being, activity, and expression of the deeper thoughts we have for one another. It is continuous and should not be limited to a day’s event.
Valentine’s Day is not and should not be about sex and/or sex-related activities. Unfortunately, that is what the day has turned into. Like most good things, love takes time to be nurtured. Love grows and understands that true intimacy is developed over a long time and through many seasons of life. It takes a real investment of time and resources to nurture love. Love does not go from zero to 100 super-fast. Love grows out of an appreciation of the other person’s character. Do not allow someone’s intense affection, sweet nothings, and fawning over you to deceive you. Do not allow STDs and/or pregnancy to be the defining moment in the relationship. For you would have been lost, never to be recovered if any of these determines and defines the real issues.
Any relationship that is driven by the desire to start (and end) in the bedroom, is not love, but lust; hence, calls for an immediate rethinking of the commitment to the relationship. Avoid any seduction, which can come in diverse ways. Let me say this: seduction must not be provocatively sexual. It means being emotionally engaging while being misleading about intentions. I may not have time to deal with the subject of seduction in this article.
Lust is mainly about a promise of false joy. It grows out of physical desire and leads to a superficial relationship where partners do not work to get to know each other. In a ‘lust-driven’ relationship, the parties do not care to know about each other. They are driven by desires of temporary satisfaction that leads to perpetual destruction. A desire anchored on surface-level attraction, such as looks, money, power. It may be somewhat easier to detect if someone wants sex from you, but more difficult to understand non-provocative seduction and other shallow reasons that are not linked to love. Things are kept in fantasy land because that is the only thing held in common and the way the relationship is sustained. Unfortunately, the shallow reasons would not be known when the parties do not have time to get to know each other beyond sex and romantic affairs.
Professing love without getting to know or be known, is a red flag. One is lost when love seeks to control and/or cede control. Remember that love is not self-seeking. Love understands that we are all autonomous beings, seeking our individual fulfillment, which may not perfectly align with the other’s vision. A controlling partner does not have your best interests at heart, nor do they even care what those best interests may be. If it is love, your partner will want you for you. Sex-based relationships are intense, and that intensity moves those involved into places swiftly and with little thought. People become lost because the call of the body makes them race – not unlike the automatic beat of their pulse – but it leaves little room for listening to their heads or their hearts in the process. There are no visions for the future.
People are lost when they engage in extreme self-indulgence, very delusional, and not caring about the other person. I have heard many people say that opposite of hate is love and vis-versa. How ignorant can we be? What they refer to as love in that context is actually lust and not love. Love grows, it doesn’t hate, it is not reversible. Lust is the reason why people beg for gifts and other things during Valentine’s day celebration. Love can hardly wait to give, the same way lust can hardly wait to receive. Lust turns people into liars, deceivers, and manipulators. Their actions towards others are based on the craving to get. It abandons the other person when it is no longer getting what it wants and expects.
I am not condemning sex between married couples on Valentine’s day. No, not at all. I am only uncomfortable with sex between unmarried couples/partners. History tells us that the reason for the killing of St. Valentine’s was his insistence on joining couples in holy matrimony, despite emperor Constantine’s order against that. Saint Valentine understood and recognized the importance and sanctity of marriage; hence, was willing to give his life in obedience to God. How can you be celebrating what you do not respect and believe in? Sex is not love, and love is not sex!
No doubt, sex is great, but it is very dangerous, too. Like fire, it is one of the most powerful things in the universe. When a fire is kept in the fireplace, it does wonderful things for people: warms a house, provides light, cooks food, and looks beautiful. Sex in marriage can and should produce intimacy, pleasure, children, and beauty. On the other hand, fire outside the fireplace is destructive, possibly burning down your house and consuming human life. Sex outside marriage is destructive and ruins intimacy with God and others.
To love truly and not be lost, we must discard lust. Finding and loving God is the true definition of finding love. If you are in doubt if you are in love or lust, just reflect, look deeply, think again and check if God is present in that feeling. Ask yourself if you will go ahead with the action if your parents were to be in that scene. Ask yourself, if God were to be physically present around you, would I still do what I do or about to do. If you are honest, you would realize that what you are doing and/or planning to do has nothing to do with love, but lust. Ask yourself if you feel peace thinking about that person, with God in mind. If you are confident to talk to God about that person, and if God is smiling as you tell that person “I love you”. Ask yourself if God would be happy seeing you go into a relationship with that person, and do the things you have done and/or planning to do with the person.
We all want to love because love is a great thing. In fact, that is an understatement because love is more than great. It is extraordinary. God is love! Yeah, He is love. Tell me how you would find love without finding God. Tell me how you would differentiate between love and lust if you don’t involve God. Please make me understand how you would not make that person your idol if you don’t first find your love in God. How would you know if you are not merely lusting after that person if you don’t first love God? Your conscience, the tiny voice speaks to you gently now to make a U-turn, do not resist it. If you do, you may be lost forever. We are in the generation where someone wakes up daily and decides to play games on another’s heart and feelings. Please, first find God, please. Finally, I ask again, what are you celebrating? Valentine of Love or Lust or of the Lost?
Happy Valentine’s Day. Always remember to do everything at the right time. God is with us!
–Dr. Chiwuike Uba
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