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Valentine's Day

What's Wrong With Showing Love?

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Valentine’s Day is all about showing “love,” giving a card or flowers or chocolates to a loved one. All of that’s good, right?  Wrong.

Valentine’s Day is big business. According to the National Retail Foundation, Valentine’s Day for 2012 added around $17.6 billion to the U.S. economy—making retail spending for this day the second-largest behind Christmas.

It does matter to God how we worship Him.

For a lot of people it’s the holiday to express your love to someone special. According to Kemberly King, a business instructor at South University, young adults ages 25 to 34 spend the most on Valentine’s Day gifts. Interestingly, men will outspend women—almost 2 to 1—with the biggest categories for all spending being restaurants, candy, romantic getaways and flowers.

A quick Web search for the origins of Valentine’s Day will give you the basics of the accepted history of the day. A deeper search will acknowledge its pagan origins. The Good News has published a variety of articles on both of these aspects of the holiday.

While Valentine’s Day is the most promoted holiday after Christmas and Easter even among traditional Christian churches, it is definitely not a holiday with true Christian values.

How can “love” be wrong?

There’s nothing wrong in showing love to others—after all, isn’t that the most valued Christian characteristic? But what’s been lost in how we go about it, and how we worship God for that matter, is whether we are actually following what God teaches in the Bible.

It’s like an automobile manufacturer telling you to put only gasoline in the fuel tank, but then you decide that diesel fuel is just as good! It just won’t work.

Here’s a quick review of the background of Valentine’s Day—before exploring a deeper point about this holiday.

By most accepted historians, Valentine’s Day was an adaptation by the Catholic Church of the ancient pagan Roman celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival. The Catholic Church updated and connected it to a “Saint” Valentine sometime late in the third century A.D.(though there is some confusion as to who this person actually was). It really took off commercially as a holiday in the late 1800s, promoted as a day to show your “love” to others—especially romantic love to your special someone.

So what’s wrong with that? Here’s the problem: Lupercalia was an immoral fertility festival also featuring gluttony and drunkenness. At the end of the festivities young men would draw the name of a young lady from a box, and the two were considered a pair (sexually and otherwise) for the coming year.

As a festival, Lupercalia was dedicated to the Roman god Pan, recognized as the god of fields, groves and wooded glens—and pictured as having the hindquarters, legs and horns of a goat. This pagan deity was connected to fertility and the season of spring. None of what is connected to the feast of Lupercalia is worthy of a Christian’s observance.

But what’s wrong with a little paganism?

What about showing love on Valentine’s Day if I’m not doing it for pagan reasons? Isn’t that okay? No, because the expression of that kind of “love” is still rooted in a former pagan holiday. True Christians must not adopt pagan festivals as holidays, for they are to strive to please God in everything they do.

Even when you think you’re innocently observing a holiday like this, you’re still advancing the origins and meanings of the day—especially from God’s perspective, as He certainly knows where it came from. God said not to do this. He told the Israelites entering the pagan land of Canaan:

“When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise . You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods” (Deuteronomy 12:29-31 Deuteronomy 12:29-31 29 When the LORD your God shall cut off the nations from before you, where you go to possess them, and you succeed them, and dwell in their land; 30 Take heed to yourself that you be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before you; and that you inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 31 You shall not do so to the LORD your God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hates, have they done to their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods.
American King James Version×
, emphasis added).

When we merge pagan teachings with what God instructs through the Bible, we weaken the truth and violate God’s clear command.

God’s way is true love

Showing love as God instructs is not wrong—romantic love included. It’s a good thing to express your love toward others through a card, flowers, dinner out or any number of other ways. But don’t do it under the trappings of a pagan holiday like Valentine’s Day! If someone is special to you, then do those things throughout the year rather than waiting until February 14th.

Our worship of God must first and foremost be according to His truth (John 4:24 John 4:24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
American King James Version×
). Carryovers from pagan worship don’t honor Him!

God is personified by the characteristic of love (1 John 4:8 1 John 4:8He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
American King James Version×
). Godly love is genuine outgoing concern for others as God would love them—not as a selfish love. Divine love is reflected in keeping God’s commandments (1 John 5:3 1 John 5:3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
American King James Version×
), including the Ten Commandments and instruction like that in Deuteronomy cited above.

True Christians should desire to faithfully observe God’s own Holy Days found in the Bible (see Leviticus 23 for a list of them). Celebrating holidays like Valentine’s Day in opposition to God’s instruction does not honor or obey Him—no matter how well intentioned or innocent we believe it to be.

It does matter to God how we worship Him. He expects us to understand the difference between what He has declared holy and the profane teachings, customs and traditions masquerading as godly worship (Ezekiel 22:26 Ezekiel 22:26Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned my holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
American King James Version×

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  • ngeshlew
    Interesting article. Looking forward to more revelations.
  • macnana
    am always surprise when the so called Christians embrace this festival and do a whole lot of evil things among themselves . But the Bible makes it clear that “saying lord! lord! shall give you no eternity life but the ones and the meek doing the will of the Jehovah” Greetings from Ghana-Africa
  • Jacob Hitsman
    Thanks Dan for this article. Us Christians down here on earth need someone like you to explain the origins and give us ammunition to fight this paganism in the world today. You have made clear the pagan origins of this day so we can explain to others the true nature of this abomination before Holy God. Certainly there are many other Christians who appreciate the work you did investigating this pagan holiday and relating it to the Word of God. Good job Dan!
  • Rob55
    Things ONLY have meaning where a social norm defines them as having meaning. Words today are used in a manner that are polar opposites to there original definitions. These words NO LONGER are defined as in their original form. Social definitions take precedent in defining something as it pertains to what something means in modern lexicon. To attempt to take an archaic meaning and value is to completely ignore the present reality. While what you say is absolutely true of Rome and what was prescribed as meaning 2000 years ago is NOT applicable today. Using your logic we should abandon EVER singing some of the greatest hymns ever penned. Amazing Grace, How Great thou Art after all were taken from traditional songs sung in brew halls and pubs. Since these songs were sung in pubs where rampant debauchery regularly occurred singing them is a tribute to that activity. Such a line of thought is of course absurd. No less absurd that the attempt of forcing a pagan meaning and value to Valentines in today’s world as doing the same to some of the greatest hymns ever penned. Meaning and context are important if one is going to live a balanced life grounded in scriptural truth.

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