February is often referred to as the “Month of Love” – a month filled with roses, boxed-chocolates, special Valentines dinners and don’t forget Cupid, and his quiver of arrows. And while all of these are associated with love, do they really express true love? They might… but again, they might not.
There is a story that comes from the time of Oliver Cromwell in England. A young soldier had been tried in military court and sentenced to death. He was to be shot at the “ringing of the curfew bell.”
Unbeknownst to anyone, his fiancée climbed up into the bell tower several hours before curfew and tied herself to the bell’s huge clapper. At curfew time, when only muted sounds came out of the bell tower, Cromwell demanded to know why the bell was not ringing. His soldiers went to investigate and found the young woman cut and bleeding from being knocked back and forth against the great bell. They brought her down, so the story goes, and Cromwell was so impressed with her willingness to suffer in this way on behalf of someone she loved that he dismissed the condemned soldier saying, “Curfew shall not ring tonight.”
I don’t know if the soldier was truly guilty or not. But I do know that we are … every one of us! “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).
But we also know of an amazing love where another innocent one was willing to die for the guilty.
Jesus once said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends …” (John 15:12-14).
That’s exactly what Jesus did! He gave up His innocent life for the guilty; for you and me. He, who was without sin, was nailed to the cross, and there, weighted down with the incredible load of everyone else’s sins, He became sin for us! He, then, paid the debt of those sins, in full, through His own death. And when He rose from the grave, His victory song declared, “Because I live, you also will live!”
Now we know what true love is! The very love that Jesus has shown to us!
But it doesn’t stop there. With faith in our forgiven hearts, we are called to let that faith shine brightly onto others! We have the love of Jesus living in our hearts; a true love that is to be reflected in our daily lives. Remember, it was our Savior, who said: “Love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you are to love one another. By this everyone will know you are My disciples …” (John 13:34-35).
As forgiven sinners, and ambassadors for Christ, we know true love beyond compare . . . and it’s a love, we WANT to share!