2018 Valentine’s Day: True love and peace should reign
As Valentine’s Day comes up again on February 14, which is also Ash Wednesday and beginning of Lent, many Nigerians will be joining others worldwide to
celebrate the day associated with a lot of love and goodwill. With so much tension, aggression and apprehension in the land, is there any way this day could be used to make a positive impact and help connect the people? How should Nigerians celebrate the day? OMIKO AWA and ISAAC TAIWO report.
‘We Should Teach People What True Love Is And Help Change Their Old Perception Of Love’
Dr. Envinnaya Emeka Okwunu, General Overseer, New Life Christian Church, Apapa GRA, and Vice Chairman, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria
AS Christians, we are not comfortable with the celebration of Valentine’s Day because there are so many conflicting stories about how it is celebrated. We are calling on Nigerians to key into the kind of love God manifested to mankind. We are all expected to key into God’s kind of love. We were created in His image and likeness. Therefore, He expects us to love as He loves us. It is not the lust that people practise for selfish and sensual purpose, which has characterised the celebration of Valentine. God’s love is purposeful, and the purpose is to save us from hell, from everlasting peril.
During this Valentine period, Christians should invite their loved ones and let them know what true love means. However, this should not be limited to our loved ones alone. We should teach all people what true love is and change their minds from their old ways of perceiving love, which indeed was not love, but lust. We should let the world know that true love is not selfish and that it would never let you hurt another person. The love we should show is the type that would add value to another person’s life. God’s kind of love is the genuine one that is not limited to those that appear to be good. He shows His love to both the good and the bad and He expects the same from us. This is the essence of Val’s Day, especially as this year’s celebration coincides with Ash Wednesday. Love gives talent and resources that would add value to the person you claim you love. Love is not the one, where we buy gifts for the other person and expect the same in return. That is not love. It is lustful, selfish and ungodly.
Christians should help to communicate this true love at this period to Nigerians and the world at large. Anyone sleeping with a man that is not her husband and vice versa, while claiming to celebrate Valentine is offending God. He or she is going against God’s commandment that says man should not commit fornication or adultery. We should teach and demonstrate genuine love. There are many families without genuine love. There are some young ones also looking for genuine love. Christians should put them through.
‘The Coincidence Of Valentine With Ash Wednesday Is Symbolic, As God Wants Us To Celebrate True Love’
Dr. El-Miriam Modupeola Akinwande, Spiritual Mother, Ebenezer Praying Band, Surulere.
VALENTINE is here again. Presently, there is tension in the country because of a lot of issues disturbing the people. These include killing, kidnapping, raping and such other vices. People are not happy and that is why the Church has been praying that the nation overcomes this period and experience peace.
We know that Valentine is a period to show love to others, though it is being celebrated the other way round. If as a people we had been practising true love, then the nation would not be experiencing so much sorrow and hardship. But the love we have for one another is far from the kind of love that is expected to be prevalent in the nation. We know this is the work of our enemy, the devil. If anyone really loves, s/he would not want to kill his fellow human being. He would not want to kidnap his fellow human being or put some people into sorrow because he wants to be rich. He would not want to do anything to the detriment of the other people or disturb the peace of the country. As we are speaking, some communities are living in fear; that they might be attacked any moment by some group of people. Is that love? No! This is surely wickedness and we need to make people change this for the good and peaceful existence of all tribes.
I am pleading with Nigerians to use this period to exhibit true and genuine love. The only way we can achieve this is by surrendering our life to Jesus, Who promises to give us a brand new heart. He promises to take away the stony heart and replace it with a heart of flesh. This is what Nigerians should seek. Nigerians should pray for a new heart, a change of heart. We know that churches are praying and individuals should also pray. The coincidence of Ash Wednesday and Val’s Day is symbolic. This means God wants us to celebrate true love this time around and not the kind of lust that used to characterise this period.
My message to Nigerians is that people should drop the old habit and embrace God’s love that is needed in homes, among friends, the love that does not destroy. True love does not hate. My prayer is that marriages would be renewed and true love will enter homes. We should love our neighbours as ourselves. Christians are expecting the Rapture, but only the people who practise true love will be raptured. We need love in the heart of those in governance. Everybody should practise true love.
‘We Should Take Advantage Of Valentine’s Day To Preach And Practise True Love’
Rt. Rev. Stephen Adegbite, Bishop, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Ikeja Diocese, and the treasurer, Christian Association Nigeria (CAN), Lagos State Chapter.
WE have to take advantage of this period of Valentine to preach and practise true love, which God is interested in. Last year, my late wife brought young people together. They dressed in white and red. The occasion was used to teach young people how to love genuinely. She also disabused their minds of believing that Valentine celebration has to do with molesting one another and throwing away virtues for vices. She told them not to allow people to steal their dignity because Val’s Day is the day the devil teaches young ones to have carnal knowledge of themselves. A lot of innocent girls are spoilt and introduced to evil that day. Valentine has become the period stupid and erroneous love is practised.
The kind of love that God expects is Agape love, which is true and undiluted love. It is an unconditional love that God has for us; the kind of love He showed when He gave us His only Begotten Son, so that we would not perish.
There is no better time that we need true love in our nation than now. Everywhere is in disarray. There is so much hatred. Some people have gone to the extreme of killing others in the name of religion. It is specifically stated in the Bible that, “Thou shall not kill.” It is one of the laws that God gave to the Israelites through Moses on Mount Sinai, which are for all Christians and the world at large. At a time like this, the only way we can get out of the woods is to have better understanding of ourselves. We are all here on earth for a short time.
‘Nigerians Should Show True Love, Tolerance And Stop Killing One Another’
Apostle Alex Bamgbola, Chairman, CAN Lagos State.
VALENTINE gives the impression of love, which is carnal and not true love. It is not heavenly love. God wants us to love one another as He loves us. Valentine’s Day is just one day, but true love is demonstrated every day. Even among some couples, there is no love in their homes. God’s love is everyday, so we should love our neighbours everyday, no matter the situation. Valentine’s Day has become a tradition for many people to show lust instead of true love. Husband, wives and others should love one another everyday and the only way to do this is to first love God. The man who loves God first would also love his wife. Wives should also love their husbands. But despite being secular and carnal love, I would want Nigerians to show more true love, tolerate one another and stop the killing.
‘Let’s Live Together And Foster Genuine Love And Unity’
Pastor David Ademola Ayanfe-Oluwa, General Overseer, Radiant Life Assembly, Faith House, Lagos.
NIGERIANS did not sit at a roundtable to decide that the nation ‘Nigeria’ would evolve. It was God that took that decision. It was His prerogative. He did that because He knew we could live together as one. God does not make mistakes at all. Christians know that Satan is always at the base of every evil and wickedness that we see.
The solution for us to live together as ONE in this nation, in the first instance, we have to come to the realisation that God decided the various tribes, whether Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa, among others, and caused us to belong to any of them.
In the like manner, He brought all the tribes in Nigeria together by His act because nothing happens behind Him and without Him. We should forget all forms of ungodly ideas and see ourselves as privileged brothers and sisters. We should be determined to live together in love and peace. No one should see himself or herself as superior to others and begin to humiliate them. God does not force any religion on anybody. In fact, despite the fact that He is the embodiment of love, He does not compel anyone to serve Him. He only pleads with man to serve Him, which if he does, He would enjoy His companionship and everlasting bliss.
Even if any foreign nation is pushing a tribe to dominate and have it all, we should come to our senses and know that the idea does not augur well for us. Since we have been dancing to the tune of these secret enemies, what have we attained since we became Independent? We should be wise and know that our size is our strength. We should stop listening to enemies who pose as friends. A tribe cannot dominate the rest. We should learn to live in peace and harmony.
‘The Coincidence Of Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday Is Divinely Arranged’
Elder Israel Akinadewo, Prelate and Supreme Head, Motailatu Church Cherubim and Seraphim, Worldwide.
SINCERELY speaking, I do not believe in Valentine’s Day. I only believe in Jesus Christ. Incidentally, whether positively or negatively, this year’s Val’s Day coincides with Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, the Christian fasting period.
However, Ash Wednesday is the commencement of the days we are expected to be sober, reflect on our lives and God. So, we are calling on everyone to exhibit the holy love Jesus Christ, our Lord manifested while on earth. He showed sacrificial love, which He expects us to also emulate. We should not be selfish or lustful, the way Valentine is being celebrated. In fact, the coincidence of Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday is divinely arranged. God is using it to tell Nigerians and the world at large to turn away from lust and evil habit and show genuine love to one another, live at peace with all men and stop all the killings going on around the world, including Nigeria. The best example of this love is the one our Saviour Jesus Christ manifested by laying down His life for us, while we were yet sinners. We are to forgive each other’s wrong, come to the roundtable and discuss our differences.
God wants us to see this year’s celebration differently, not the usual way we used to see or celebrate it. The Word of God says we are created for God’s glory. Therefore, let use glorify God in our bodies this time around and flee concupiscence, as well as all forms of evil.
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