By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, where we celebrate love and express our appreciation to those that love us. I think most would agree that love has an amazing effects on people. It matures us, it heals old wounds, it makes us stronger, and it gives us peace. On the other hand, being in love with someone also opens up the doors to your deepest, darkest, most locked away places. Our sin bubbles to the top because our emotions are so easily stirred. In short, our loved ones hold a mirror up to our soul and help us see what we really are deep down inside. So I think that many end up being confused with the pain they feel while in love and chose instead to push it away.
I think people have a similar experience with the Lord. He IS love after all. Whatever feelings you have for that certain someone pale in comparison to what Jesus feels for each of us. His ability to heal, strengthen, and grow us through his love is unmatched in the universe. Likewise, his ability to pierce through our defenses and reveal our sin is jarring and incredibly humbling.
So we need atonement for our sin. In our relationships we have to right our wrongs through steadfast love and faithfulness. Same goes for our relationship with the Lord. Except that as sinners we can never be perfectly steadfast and faithful. Thankfully we have the one who was perfect and sacrificed himself for us. Through Jesus’ steadfast love and faithfulness, we are atoned for. Through fear of the Lord, we turn away from the sin and evil that tempts us and drags us down. We don’t always succeed in turning away from evil, but we are also not slaves to that sin because of the redeeming work that the Lord did for us. His love is enough to draw us back to him and our appreciation for that love drives us to be better people.
An added benefit to this amazing love that Jesus has for us is the example it gives us to live out in our own lives. He died for us so that we might live sacrificially for the ones we love. He pours his heart into us so that we would know how to pour ourselves into others. Not just one day of the year. Not just with flowers and candy. But by striving every day to be more like Jesus and to love others as he loves us, which is exactly the way he’d want us to show him love.