Flowers, chocolates, dinner dates…..ah yes….It's February....you know what that means! Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. This is the day we have marked on our calendars to deliberately and demonstrably show love to our loved ones. Be on the lookout for all manner of PDA’s (public displays of affection!)
Now, “public display of affection”, have gotten a bad rap in my opinion. I mean, really our response often depends on whether we're the witness or the participant. Right? J After all, I do believe Solomon, wrought with wisdom, told us in Ecclesiastes that there's a time and a place for everything. Did he not? (Boy do we ever work that one to our own interpretations and advantage sometimes.) Well, this is the Solomon in Song of Solomon. So….. Nope, not going there with this today! (Not likely any other day, either). Really, though, I think there should be some sort of tier system with which we grade PDA’s.
Tier 3: neutral – there is little if any PDA. Maybe hold a door open, carry something for them, or give them a pat every once in a while.
Tier 2: admirable – an appropriate or inspiring amount of PDA. As in, "Aww, look how sweet they look at each other"; "that'll be us holding hands in 20 years”; a short, sweet kiss or a warm embrace, etc.
Tier 1: offensive – too much PDA!! As in, "Do you mind...this is a family place?!"; really bordering on indecent exposure.
Really, Solomon was right. Even PDA’s have their time and place. The bad rap comes from those horrid scenes etched in our minds involving people who apparently haven’t read Ecclesiastes. We’ve probably been on both sides of the coin at some point in our lives. We’ve either had the boyfriend who smothered us with public affection or one that only offered affection if no one was around. For that matter, we’ve probably had friends who operated on the same principal. We’ve had that true friend who stood with us even when we weren’t making them look good at the time and then we’ve had the friend who was only a good friend in certain circles.
See, public displays of affection, in my book, encapsulate a lot of things. That’s why I wonder about the validity of any affection shown on one particular day, if the next day, we go right back to distant and self-serving. I mean, let’s not be unappreciative….it’s nice to not have to cook dinner that night and to have fresh flowers decorating your table. It’s especially nice, though, when you don’t have to end the day thinking, “wow….I could get use to this”, because your loved ones are demonstrative to you on a daily basis.
So, while the tier system is handy in gaging the PDA’s of those at the mall, we should take a look at what all PDA’s really encompass in the day to day. I’m going to list some things that come to mind and we’ll see if we can look at them a little differently. PDA’s typically bring images of kissing, hugging, holding hands, sending flowers, etc. With my husband and I, they also include things less noticeable: warm smiles (our “song” is Ronan Keating’s version of Keith Whitley’s ‘When You Say Nothing at All’); fixing him coffee at a gathering or making sure he has some ready in the morning when he leaves at the crack of dawn; him leaving at the crack of dawn to provide for us is a display of affection; him insisting on carrying the heavy stuff or warming up the car; etc. Still, the least talked about and most important public display of affection, though, often comes when we’re not even together. Let me explain.
See, my sweet thang is very demonstrative. He has never quite broached the “offensive” tier with his PDA’s but he has rarely assumed a spot on the neutral tier, either. But, really, what means more to me than his showering of affection is that he has never been one to hide his love for me, even when I’m not around. Co-workers of his that I’ve met over the years seem to have an understanding of his devotion to his wife and kids. His affection toward me is not hidden…ever. Also, his demeanor toward me doesn’t change because our environment changes or we’re among a different group of people. Unashamed love. Now, to me, that’s hot. You can keep the flowers and I don’t need the chocolate anyway.
I wish that were the standard in all relationships in regards to demonstrating affection. But, I realize that because Valentine’s Day is such a lovey dovey holiday, it leaves many people feeling unloved because they either don’t have that someone to shower with love or because the one that is suppose to take up that cause doesn’t come through. Can I just say to those people, at the risk of sounding cliché…..and I REALLY don’t like to use cliché’s … Cliché’s oversimplify and trivialize things sometimes. And this is not simple or trivial…but truth. Just let me remind you that there is a PDA in a tier of it’s own, directed toward all of us and was meant to keep us all from feeling unloved….ever.
The Ultimate Display of Affection
1 John 4:8-10
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In THIS is love…. not that we have loved God but that HE loved US…..and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
If we study the affections that Jesus offered during His earthly ministry and put on magnificent display at the end of it, we could grasp a whole new concept not just of displaying our affections, but also a deeper sense of what love really is.
- He wasn’t concerned with how pouring His love out on those around Him made Him look to certain groups of people. He never hesitated to demonstrate His great love. (Luke 5:27-32).
- He didn’t insist that His love be merited. It was so much a part of Him, it just oozed out of Him (Matthew 14:13-21; Luke 8:40-56; Matthew 26:47-56; Luke 23:32-43).
- He wasn’t deterred from pouring out that love even when it was unreturned (Luke 17:11-19).
There are so many examples of God demonstrating His unmerited love throughout scriptures and the cross was His ultimate display. So, when we are feeling unloved or unlovable….He bids us to remember just how untrue that is. Furthermore, because we are the recipients of such unmerited love, maybe we could resolve to demonstrate our love for those around us…even on days they aren’t “meriting” our favor, either. Let’s learn from the Master, not to be concerned with our appearance before others or the return on our investment. If we love someone, we should take every opportunity to let the world know. That’s certainly what He did. Some days it may just ooze out of us, other days it may have to be a choice to love demonstratively that day. But, if we could walk in His ways, we might be surprised at the wonders he would work in our relationships…..Especially in our relationship with Him.
We often find it difficult to offer a single PDA for the One who loves us so much. Some circles of people may never hear us utter His name, much less shout His praises. What’s baffling is that is the case even among many bodies of professing believers. I’m not saying you have to dance in the aisles at church, but worship Him whole heartedly, being careful to not quench His Spirit at work in us. He deserves far more. Outside of church are countless opportunities to display our affections toward Him on a daily basis. We may not feel like it some days. Things aren’t always rose colored. I don’t imagine Paul felt much like singing in prison after the beating he took, but he did….and boy were some wonders worked that night….I’m talking chains coming loose!
So I’ve compiled us a new little list here of some basic PDA’s to offer Him that we can display for the world to see: Obedience; unashamed praise; faith in hardship; joy in trials; thankfulness in need; loving others even when they’re not being lovable; serving others without expecting reciprocation; and serving Him both in His House and in our daily encounters.
For those of us who are professing believers, we need to make sure our PDA’s support the claim that our church membership holds….that we are believers in Christ and in a relationship with Him….all in. Much like my sweet thang’s consistent displays of affection toward me display what his wedding ring alone can’t….his love for and devotion to me, the cross of Christ displayed his love for and devotion to us all. We simply need to make sure any love we claim we have for Christ or for anyone else for that matter, is visible. Unashamed love.
So, in all of our relationships, whether or not love is in the air this month, maybe it’s a good time to review and update our personal policies on public displays of affection. J Just a couple of tips as you begin your review….With the Lord, my tier system wouldn’t work. He’s all about some all-in, crazy love. Remember David dancing naked down the street when bringing back the Ark of the Covenant? For our earthly relationships, though, all-in, crazy love is a good thing….just keep it G-rated please! I don’t want to start the wrong trend here. Even in crazy love, there’s a time and a place for everything! J
It's amazing how you can speak right to my heartWithout saying a word, you can light up the darkTry as I may I can never explainWhat I hear when you don't say a thingThe smile on your face let's me know that you need meThere's a truth in your eyes saying you'll never leave meThe touch of your hand says you'll catch me wherever I fallYou say it best when you say nothing at allAll day long I can hear people talking out loudBut when you hold me near, you drown out the crowdTry as they may they can never defineWhat's being said between your heart and mineThe smile on your face let's me know that you need meThere's a truth in your eyes saying you'll never leave meThe touch of your hand says you'll catch me wherever I fallYou say it best when you say nothing at all