Isn’t it amazing that when people have more money and free time than at any other point in human history so many people feel miserable, depressed, and alone?
I’ve been hearing about how Valentines Day has “victimized marginalized peoples” who don’t fit within the Valentines Day box by excluding them. I suppose in a world where everyone must be recognized and celebrated at all times, nothing is more devastating than seeing others celebrate something that does not include you! I think this kind of outlook on life is truly tragic to begin with, but, what’s just as tragic is that in listening to today’s saged-counsel about V-Day’s victims, no one seems to have any answers! No one wants to suggest that others are obligated to find trans people attractive because that would mean that gay men or lesbian women would have to find members of the opposite sex attractive. But they still want to frame everything as victimhood. Their thinking is a convoluted mess!
However, they have raised a point that I thought would be appropriate to address. Valentines Day can feel incredibly isolating for people who haven’t yet found someone to live life with. And for those who have lost loved ones, it can bring back searing pain that can feel truly paralyzing!
So how should those who are single handle Valentines Day?
I’m going to draw out and apply two Biblical principles that could potentially sound offensive to today’s modern ear, but I believe these principles – which have much broader application – are thoroughly Christian principles that we need to practice when we see others celebrating things that we ourselves don’t get to enjoy.
So hear me out to the end and then judge whether or not you think what I’ve said is helpful.
First principle: learn humility.
Philippians 2:3 (CSB) — 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. We live in one of the most selfish societies ever.
We make everything about our own fulfillment and happiness. We need constant affirmation. We crave constant attention. We aren’t happy unless everyone around us is celebrating everything we do. And, as a result, we aren’t happy!
One thing that has stood out to me the most since returning to America is just how blind we are to our material selfishness and emotional egotism. And I know no one likes the person who points out just how selfish they’re being, which is probably why no one talks about this in America. But I believe our selfishness is one of the main reasons why the richest people on earth are so angry and unfilled, despite having more free time to enjoy their riches than perhaps any other generation ever.
To break this mold means you have to be different.
Valentines Day is about love. So if you’re single on Valentines Day and want to enjoy love, look for ways to put the happiness of others above your own. Maybe you can offer to baby-sit the children of your married friends so they can go enjoy a date night. Or volunteer at a community center to enrich others. Afterall, at least as far as Christians celebrate Valentines Day, it’s the selflessness of faithful love that we are celebrating on Valentines Day.
So try doing something out of selfless love for someone else.
Second principle: learn to share with others in their joys.
Romans 12:15 (CSB) — 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.
We actually feel hurt when others aren’t celebrating us. We’re at the point in our society where watching others rejoice in things that don’t include us actually hurts and enrages us! I literally cannot think of a more miserable way to live life. So if seeing others celebrate their love is causing you to be sad, you have reached a point where your extreme selfishness is filling your life with sorrow.
By contrast, you will not be miserable when you learn to genuinely love others to such an extent that you enjoy their happiness! God created us for love, so we need to learn to celebrate the happiness of others.
Valentines Day is about celebrating love. So if you’re single on Valentines Day and want to celebrate love, look for ways to celebrate the faithful love of others in your life. Send your parents chocolates with a card to honor their love. Or look for a married couple in your church who has inspired you by their faithful love and honor their love. Or, if none of these are options for you, go to Starbucks and sit down for a few minutes. In a very non-creepy way, wait for the next couple to come in and take a good look at them, and just let yourself rejoice that they are in love.
So try celebrating the happiness of the people around you.
Now I mentioned that there are legitimate reasons to feel pain. Some people have experienced searing loss that just takes their breath away. You are not wrong for feeling the reality of this pain. Your grief is real. But if there is one thing that Jesus taught us, it’s that even the man of sorrows can endure grief “for the joy set before him”. You will find no greater healing than the moment when, in the midst of your pain, you are able to love again and celebrate the joys of others!