14 Feb Frequently asked Questions about Valentine by Young People
So it’s that day in February that many singles dread because obviously it is a day when your ‘cursed’ status will be furthermore revealed to the world. There will be posts of couples sharing love stories and counting the number of years spent together or maybe even something more in your face as photos of them vacaying together, eating breakfast in bed and taking all those cuddly photos with the added insult of them buying early presents and daring to tag you in it! The nerve! So you think: ‘Omg! They are mocking me!’. Well, I’ll tell you if it’s true. Lemme look into that magic pot. ‘Minnie, Mother, Doobie Doo! Oh! They are not. Nope! You’re just the one struggling with the real meaning of what valentine really is. I am sorry’
Anyway, I’ll admit how hard it is for young people especially Christians when the world paints a luxurious, fairy tale picture of what love is, and then you begin to feel left out and maybe even unloved. So yesterday, I was supposed to be at a university youth fellowship (my fellowship on campus then. Yay!) to speak to them about valentine and the very many questions surrounding it. I unfortunately missed it but I figured I could share my opinions here on some of the questions raised by the coordinators in the message they sent me.
WHAT IS VALENTINE?
It is a day or a time of the year when people show their affections for another person or people by sending cards, flowers or chocolates with messages of love.
WHY HAS VALENTINE COME TO STAY AMONG THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY?
It has come to stay because Christians live in a society and ultimately in a world. The bible acknowledges that we live in the world but points that we are not of this world (John 15:19, John 17:14). In other words, our standards should be higher, better and more defined. We should set the mark. So it has come to stay but the issue is what the church does with that day. Again, the church has otherwise realized that being dynamic can be a good tool to reaching out to people who are out there. So to reach out, you have to go out there. Out there is where the valentine happens so out there is where we must go.
ARE THERE REALLY TWO SIDES TO VALENTINE OR IS IT ONE SIDED UNDERSTANDING?
Of course! There are two sides to understanding valentine. There’s the side of the world and how their celebration is done and there is the side of God and how things are done. With God there is a standard. Love is not a one off activity.
IS THERE AN AGE LIMIT TOWARDS LOVE PARTICIPATION?
Well, if the love in question is the love that I know and God knows, then there is no age limit to love participation. Love is ageless and timeless as well. A child can participate in love. One can teach children to love from an early age, to share and to warm up to people.
ARE CHRISTIANS SUPPOSED TO GET THEMSELVES INVOLVED SERIOUSLY IN THIS ACTIVITY?
Personally, I would say no. why? Because love is not a fanfare. Absolutely not! The world is trying to sell us an agenda that we must never buy. Love is not superficial. You want to celebrate love? Of course please by all means celebrate love but as I wrote earlier, if a Christian must participate in these matters, then you must raise the standard because the devil does the reverse with the things of God. He gets what is God’s and attempts to drop the standard or cheapen it. So as a child of God, you must raise the standard when it’s brought low. Refuse to be cheap. So if valentine is celebrated once a year, make it your duty to live life celebrating love. Jesus went about doing good. (Acts 10:38). Good was his habit. He lived out valentine.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ON THOSE WHO DON’T GIVE SPECIAL/ NO ATTENTION TOWARDS THIS?
It’s simple. When nothing is said, nothing can be replied. These people have chosen to live their lives putting Valentine’s Day as a normal day so I say ‘please carry on’. After all it is a normal day.
TO THOSE WHO TAKE IT SERIOUSLY, WHAT IS TO BE SAID CONCERNING THEM?
Well, if they must take it seriously and celebrate it then they had better make sure that they are celebrating it every day of their lives. For example, I am 22 years and when my birthday comes, whether or not I celebrate it, I am my age and throughout that year, I will be 22. I will live 22, act 22, fill 22 on every form, and take responsibilities for 22. I don’t celebrate 22 on the set day and revert to being 21. So that’s how it is. If you must celebrate love on a day, then make sure that in your ordinary life, that same excitement, craze and drama lasts otherwise you have no business taking that valentine photo shoot because you have no idea of what you are celebrating. So you’re either a hypocrite or a crowd follower.
AS STUDENTS, HOW SHOULD WE PLACE LOVE? DO WE REALLY HAVE TO BE INVOLVED IN LOVE ACTIVITY?
So why do you feel the need to date?
Must you date?·
You should ask yourself if dating is a priority. (Songs of Solomon 8:4)
·Some people are not multitaskers so for those people you may have to hold off.
I am honestly sorry.
·What is the purpose of this dating? Is it to fit in? To complete yourself? For fun? Etc
AT WHAT AGE IS IT RIGHT FOR ONE TO START A RELATIONSHIP?
At the age of responsibility. Please don’t tell me that a teenage boy or girl with a mature mind can. As much as there is no set age cast in stone but the litmus test would be a good knowledge of what you are getting yourself involved in and how responsible you are to handle whatever comes of it. This has nothing to do with pregnancy alone. Whatever comes of it can be a wide range of issues. From abuse to pregnancy, depression, stability, marriage etc.
CAMPUS RELATIONSHIP, HOW ROMANTIC CAN IT GET?
One of the striking definitions of romance is: ‘’to talk or behave amorously without serious intentions’’. E.g. a romanticized talk (an exaggerated issue that hides the real issues or facts), a romantic novel (those lying tales that paint stories of love in a simple manner). So no, you cannot be romantic because truth be said, once you get romantic, overtime, you’re going to build a certain atmosphere and pressure that will ultimately lead to compromise.
DO YOU THINK STARTING A RELATIONSHIP IN SCHOOL HAS ANY BENEFITS?
Oh well, I am not against people who start out their relationships from school. Some have ended up married and are extremely happy. But that only happens when the parties have answered certain personal questions correctly and established the boundaries from the beginning. So one of the benefits definitely has to be the advantage of building a long term friendship with the person, understanding the person well enough, and passing through certain level of pressure together, growing together and things like that. The major challenge I imagine would be sharing your time between school and relationship. It’s not that simple.
HOW CAN ONE EFFECTIVELY RELATE WITH THE OPPOSITE SEX AND NOT GET CARRIED AWAY EMOTIONALLY?
The bible speaks about guarding your heart diligently. The word diligent means to be careful. So in your relationship with the opposite sex, you must be careful. Careful not to get too comfortable, careful not to assume things, careful not to become too liberal, careful to set the boundaries. It’s very healthy to have friends who are members of the opposite sex but as I was advised from an early age, always make it a group thing. Don’t attach yourself to a particular person and be acting all ‘bestie of life’. No. if you do that, you will find yourself becoming more emotionally attached in a way that you may not be in control of if you’re not careful. It’s a simple natural law. The more time you spend with a person, the more attached you get. We all know of the story of beauty and the beast. The more time she spent with him, the more she saw the good in him and that he wasn’t a beast afterall.
DO YOU ADVICE A STUDENT TO GET MARRIED WHILE IN SCHOOL?
Marriage and schooling are two different subjects. Of course! Why not? Everyday, people marry and go to school and they don’t fall off the earth. It’s just like mixing marriage with every other commitment. Marriage and career, marriage and ministry, marriage and hobbies, marriage and parenting and a lot more.
SCHOOL IS FULL OF SOCIAL ACTIVITIES AND MANY UNGODLY ONES. HOW DOES A CHRISTIAN DEAL WITH THAT?
The best place for a person to firmly decide how Christianity should be for them is on campus. Just like your normal school curriculum, you have electives and core. Same rule applies. You must establish personal boundaries. There are certain obvious activities that you know that you can’t attend as a Christian because it won’t agree with the standard you represent. Then the obscure ones can be handled in this way. You can ask yourself this: Can I invite God to hang out in this place? You deal with it by deciding what you want to be known for. Do you want to be THAT Christian people can invite to funny places? because honestly I would be upset if I was the one. Or do you want to be that Christian people have to think twice to ask or not ask at all.
HOW SOCIAL CAN A CHRISTIAN STUDENT GET?
A Christian student can get very social. I am extremely social. I was very social on campus. In fact I pride myself in that. One of the most important lessons a Christian can learn while living in the world is balance. If you don’t have that, you’ll not only mess your life up but you’ll mess other people’s lives up as well. Jesus was social. He had attended weddings, funerals, church, casual visitations. But did Jesus stand out? Sure he did and that’s because his values were clear to all. So as a Christian, your values must be clear to all. You can attend functions, join politics, school clubs, rise to the peak of it, do what you want but you must carry your God around and of course you know that God will not follow you to silly places. God has called us to freedom but we must be careful to manage it well because we are stewards of the freedom given (Galatians 5:13).
RECEIVING AND GIVING GIFTS AND AFFECTIONS TO AND FROM THE OPPOSITE SEX. WHAT IS THE RIGHT WAY?
Well, giving gifts is a good practice but those are twisted lines. Growing up, I was taught not to accept gifts from the opposite sex. It was a simple thing. I didn’t argue about it. But when I grew up, it did help in fine ways. It made me very independent as a woman and made me not to expect or focus on material things when I eventually started dating. This especially affects the girls more. You become overly needy and then ultimately indebted to the person. But of course it can be done reasonably for example on birthdays, love feasts and special occasions. Simple gifts can be given but random gifts that pop up from nowhere especially when you are not in a clearly defined relationship should be avoided. It blurs the lines of what is and what’s not.
WHAT IS LOVE?
Personally I would say love is a knowing. It’s not a feeling. We run into trouble when we think love is a feeling. Love is a knowing. Love is knowledge and that’s why God is love because he is knowledge personified. Love is the knowing of responsibilities, knowing of boundaries, knowing that tough decisions have to be made. When I say it is a knowing, I’ll tell you why. Sometimes I wake up from my bed and I don’t feel God or loved or anything special but deep down, I know that God loves me passionately. When a couple stays for many years together, you don’t see them running about and being in each other’s faces because it is a weathered emotion but the two people know that they love each other. It’s not blind. It is not ignorant because nothing ignorant can rule. This is love. And this is the type of love that God is always trying to teach us on a daily basis.