Is My Love a Pretence?

Is My Love a Pretence?

It’s that time again. St. Valentine’s Day. The day that is intended to celebrate love.

But does this day fulfil its purpose?

Scripture persuades us to be earnest in the words of St Paul to the Romans.

"Do not let your love be a pretence, but sincerely prefer good to evil" (Romans 12:9).

If we evaluate love according to that high bar, we ask ourselves, not what gift we received, but whether or not our beloved sincerely desires our good. How will we know?

We begin with arguably the most important word. Pretence. Many receive roses, jewellery, chocolates or what have you, on St. Valentine's Day, only to discover that the love of the giver is superficial and false. We discover this, to our possible distress, because their behaviours later show us that the love was utilitarian. Perhaps we were used to hold a space or place, or we were treated casually, or with dishonesty or disrespect. Perhaps the beloved keeps neither high standards nor promises. What good are flowers if one is undervalued?

In that case, the love is a pretence because it fails to sacrifice, meaning, to sincerely desire our good.

While custom and practice might prompt some people to hit the externals, i.e. flowers and candy, others feel foolish spending money on extraneous things when real needs compete for funding. So be it. A gift or lack of a gift must rest in the heart of the giver. Cultural divides can exacerbate this issue when one culture celebrates with externals and another finds them ridiculous. Yet, if our love is real, and we sincerely desire the good of another, this should be expressed.

I love you and I want what is good for you.

That is the message which we must send. We must not limit where this message goes because there are many different types of love. How can we send this message to others, anyone at all, on St. Valentine’s Day?

Possibly, with true Backpack sincerity, we can ponder that which we love about another, write it down, and hand it to them. Being reflected back in kindness and admiration rarely occurs in today’s fast-paced, often superficial culture of stress and distress. The message we send, with whatever we choose to accompany it, should include some version of the aforementioned sentence.

I love you and I want what is good for you.

With that message there might be some action of selflessness, possibly sarcasm restrained or criticism withheld, or maybe impatience overcome. We get the idea. Going deeper, under the surface, less superficial and inspiring deeper connection rather than participation in what could be a cultural base tagging exercise.

Anyway, Happy St. Valentine’s Day Backpackers. Thank you for being on this journey with us as we try to help upgrade all of our thoughts and thinking.


See the following exercise from the Relationship Room of our Contemplative Prayer Course.


Comment 1

Lisa Snow on

Thank you for this beautiful Valentine gift.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published