David H. McKinley on Virtues Make the Best Valentines

Valentine’s Day is near and the scramble is on for flowers, gifts, cards and of course, chocolates. Charles Schulz once said, “All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then never hurts.” Can I get an Amen?

When it comes to love, courtship and romance, everyone searches for the right assortment of ways to express value and affection. Yet I would propose that the best assortment is not found in a box of chocolates (Forrest Gump: “You never know what you’re gonna get”), but in an array of “fruit” that adds value and beauty to all who share.

The fruit to which I am referring is a fresh and familiar assortment of virtues produced by the Holy Spirit in our lives as believers: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

These virtues offer enduring beauty in a world where vices have marred trust and have fueled injury and fear in relationships.

In recent days, social networks and mainstream news have featured scandalous accusations and sensational revelations concerning a growing list of popular, powerful and prosperous men who are now identified by their vices and abuses toward women. Many of these men have suddenly and catastrophically lost their livelihoods, their families, and will forever bear a brand they had not previously displayed or owned.

With this in mind, I have been reflecting on my own attitudes and praying for ways to challenge the men in my church to raise a new standard of virtue in their hearts and homes with regard to all women, but especially their wives. The word I put before them and want to share with you is a word, a virtue, now lost in a culture consumed with rights and void of responsibility. It is the word, respect. I believe most of our mates would affirm and agree respect is better than roses.

Respect is choosing to take responsibility for the attitudes and actions toward others. Respect is foundational in our relationship with God — “The fear of the LORD” (Proverbs 1:7) — and our relationships with others. Respect is at the core of what makes society, community and family work.

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SOURCE: Baptist Press, David H. McKinley

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