Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How Do You Love?

     If there is one word that is overused in our culture, it is the word, ‘love’. When we use it for so many levels of affection, we cheapen its meaning. If I answered the random request of naming 10 things I love, it would be: God, Dwayne, my children, family, friends, ice cream, my dogs, teaching, my new boots, and animal print. However, I assure you that I do not love ice cream like I love my husband (I don't know about that! DT). Though one can be sweeter at times, the other one can love me back! If we ever made a mistake in the English language it is with the word love. It would be so much nicer if we would have adopted the Greek language’s use of love. Storge is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring. Philia includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. Philia is motivated by practical reasons; one or both of the parties benefit from the relationship. Eros is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. We use the word erotic for eros. Agape love is charitable, selfless, altruistic, and unconditional. It is the way God loves humanity and it is the kind of love that Christians are to have for one another. One description of these types of love is that philia is a “love of the mind”, eros is a “love of the body” and agape is a “love of the soul”.
    In the New Testament only agape and philia is used in the Greek language. When you see the word love, you need to research to see which Greek word is being translated.

Looking at 1 John 4: 7-8… "Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."

     The word for love in this verse is agape. We are told to unconditionally love others and the only way we can, is to love as God does. It is a sign of our salvation. It still takes work though because we have to choose to let God flow through us instead of letting our fleshly desires flow through us. We probably have heard all of this before, but the question is what does unconditional love look like in our day to day life. In reality it means that you will love someone regardless if they change or not. Applying it to husbands; it means you will love him regardless if he ever becomes more loving, picks up his socks, becomes the spiritual leader you want him to be, or if he ever remembers your birthday.
     Applying it to your children; you love them regardless if they ever say thank you, clean their room, do the dishes, clean the house, or remember your birthday.
Applying it to your friends; it means that regardless of their behavior, their attitudes, their way of doing things, their hurtful words, their lack of attention, you will always love them. Unconditional love does not focus on feelings or a deserving recipient. It is more than a feeling, more than an action, more than an attitude: it is a choice. It is choosing to allow God to love someone through us. It is not about us. It is totally about God and the recipient. It is the truest form of surrendering!
      The question to ask is not, “how is your love life?” The question we need to ponder is, “how is your agape life?”


Steph said...

Jared and I were talking about these kinds of love the other day...except we couldn't think of one of them. We need to be reminded so often that we are loved unconditionally so we should love the same way.

Kathy T. said...

I'll love you IF or I'll love you When. Conditions on love. True love IS unconditional. I've read the book A Boy Named IT! The true life story of Dave Peltzer. Children, no matter how they've been abused still manage to love those that are taking advantage of them. True unconditional love. We need to tell our children every day how much we LOVE them.