With Valentine’s Day right in the middle, February gets devoted to devotion (groundhogs and presidents notwithstanding). People show their love during this month by purchasing flowers, chocolates, sentimental cards, restaurant dinners, or giant teddy bears (what’s with that?). But love is a tricky thing—because humans are basically self-serving. This means all relationships suffer conflicts. Love that is based on feelings or sexual passion alone cannot survive conflict. Therefore love must first and foremost be a commitment. Then when conflicts arise, people can work through them with honest communication or they can seek counsel and make changes so the relationship continues, often stronger than before.
A month devoted to love also points to the God who declares that He is love (1 John 4:8 & 16). The Hebrew word for His love, hesed, has no English equivalent, so the King James translators called it “lovingkindness.” It means loyalty, commitment, covenant, grace, mercy, kindness, goodness, and love.
But many people view God as anything but kind and good. How could a loving God let atrocities happen in our lives, our country, and around the world? Since the Sandy Hook school shootings, many newscasters are now referring to “an evil in the universe.” They are correct. It is not the absence of God’s love but the powerful reality of evil (sin and Satan) that causes destruction and death. Satan introduced evil into the Paradise which God originally created for humans, and Adam’s sin resulted in Paradise Lost. Satan opposes everything about God. And people love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil (John 3:19). Thus sin escalates on planet earth.
However, because God loves us, He did something about it, introducing His plan as early as Genesis 3:14-15 when he cursed the Serpent and promised to crush his head. The rest of Scripture portrays how that happened. “God became a member of the human family. He lived His whole life without sin. Then, though innocent Himself, He died a terrible death to make our salvation possible….It's an ugly scene, isn’t it? It shows how terrible sin really is and what a horrible price had to be paid to set us free from it.”
Yes, the death and resurrection of Christ crushed Satan’s head. He is a defeated foe but not yet banished to the Lake of Fire as described in Revelation 20:7-10. Until then, humans have a choice. They can trust in Jesus to save them from sin and give them eternal life (John 3:16-17) or they can continue being slaves to sin and Satan and also end up in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15).
Why would a loving God do that to humans? Because God is also just. He must punish sin. But He does not force humans to choose Him. That would be unjust. Everyone gets to decide whether to keep following his/her own way (Isaiah 53:6) or to trust in Jesus who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6 GNT).
In conclusion, February reminds us about love, but “this is how we know what love is: Christ gave His life for us” (1 John 3:16 GNT). Do you need to pray this: Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions (Psalm 51:1 KJV).
 Mart De Haan, “Why Did Christ Have to Die?” ©2006 RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI, p. 19, 29.