As I think about this concept, I realize that my thoughts and my family's comments are not new. Two passages of Scripture quickly come to mind that show how we bring out the best in each other. Come to think of it, I've seen these verses on Valentine cards:

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." (Ephesians 2:3-4 NIV)

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (I Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV)

Most everything my family mentioned was an expression of the love of Christ. God's love calls forth the best in each of us and as we love them as Christ has loved us, we bring out the best in our loved ones. I'm reminded of another principle found in Ephesians 2:10. In that passage, we are called God's workmanship. The New Living Translation says we're His masterpiece. Bringing out the best in another includes seeing him or her as a masterpiece in the making. A friend once told me that part of what she liked about me was that I saw who she was becoming and affirmed it. I want to do that for my family. I want to see each member as God's work of art and to point out the beautiful brush strokes He's placing in his or her life. When I remember that the hands of the Master Artist are shaping my loved ones, it's easier for me to look for good that is just beginning to blossom within them and to call it forth.

This Valentine's Day I may or may not buy candy hearts or shower my family with mushy cards, but I am asking God to help me give a Valentine's gift that will last a lifetime. I'm praying that He'll help me bring out the best in those I love.

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A home schooling mother of four, Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God's grace and intimacy with Jesus. Her website offers home schooling hints, book reviews, and a free weekly devotional, Soul Scents. Subscribe to Soul Scents at www.soulscents.us. You can contact Paula at Paula@soulscents.us.