“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” — John 13:34-35
How many times have you told someone that you love them? Sometimes people throw the word out like they change their shoes. The word is thrown out so much that it becomes something to say, it is said to bribe, it is said because we think that it is what someone wants to hear. Love is not an emotion, a word, that should be taken lightly. Love is not convenient and sincere love is not easy but Believers are required to love as God loves us.
Have you ever thought that there are different types of love? There are four Greek words that communicate different types of love. Those words are Agape, Storge, Phileo, and Eros. Because these are Greek terms, none of them are directly present in the Old Testament, which was originally written in Hebrew. However, these four terms offer a broad overview of the different ways love is expressed and understood throughout the Scriptures.
Pronunciation: [Uh – GAH – Pay] Perhaps the best way to understand agape love is to think of it as the type of love that comes from God. Agape is divine love, which makes it perfect, pure, and self-sacrificing. When the Bible says that “God is love” 1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” This refers to agape love, a pure love. This is the love that is lacking in society today. If Agape Love was exercised there would be no divisiveness between humanity because of race, creed, color, religion or other human descriptors.
Pronunciation: [STORE – jay] The love described by the Greek word storge is best understood as family love. It is the kind of bond that naturally forms between parents and their children — and sometimes between siblings in the same household. When parents abuse their children, people wonder why the child still loves the parent…it is a familiar love. The child cannot imagine that their mother or father would not or could not love them. Many adults assume because of the title family that they must love them even if it means enduring their abuse or betrayal. Here is where you learn that you sometimes have to love them from afar. Hate should never be an option and before you get to hate it is better to stay away for the sake of your mental and/or physical health. If a mother or father physically abuses a child, that child needs to be taken away from that abusive parent for their safety. They are still the child’s mother or father but the child must be protected.
Pronunciation: [Fill – EH – oh] Phileo describes an emotional connection that goes beyond acquaintances or casual friendships. When we experience Phileo, we experience a deeper level of connection. This connection is not as deep as the love within a family, perhaps, nor does it carry the intensity of romantic passion or erotic love. Yet Phileo is a powerful bond that forms a community and offers multiple benefits to those who share it. This love develops among those in churches, fraternities, sororities, community organizations, even among co-workers. Phileo Love develops when people find that they have similar interests or goals. It happens when people support and stand together in the same social issues. …lastly there is,
Pronunciation: [AIR – ohs] Eros is the Greek term that describes romantic or sexual love. The term also portrays the idea of passion and intensity of feeling. The word was originally connected with the goddess Eros of Greek Mythology. When couples fall in love it is usually driven by Eros. This level of love tends to alter the sensibilities so that we do not think clearly. Eros drives us by the flesh unless it intersects with Phileo Love. Phileo is where we desire to learn more about the character and morals of a person. This is where we want to explore what we have in common. Eros combined with Phileo should be a period of discovery. Eros is where many land and get stuck because of the intense physical attraction, to fulfill a moment of lust or to conquer out of a sense of false power.
In this season of a plague and a battle against racism our focus must be on Agape Love. This leads me to the divine definition of love as found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, “4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.” If we practice this definition, we will begin to exude Agape Love for one another. This divine love can sustain us as spiritual beings as we journey through our humanity if we put God first in our individual existence. People must have a desire to walk and talk in God’s love, in Agape love. If you believe in God and God’s power in your life, then you strive everyday to be better in God’s love.
It is Agape Love that will save us all from the evil forces of racism, disease and disasters. We came into existence because of God’s love for us. It is a love that sees the best of who we are individually and as a country. It is a love that says no matter what trials we face; we have nothing to fear. It is a love that liberates rather than enslaves. It is surely a love that brings about justice in the face of injustice.
It is only God’s love, Agape Love, that can break the curse of racism and cast out a pandemic. This is the time that we focus on a greater love, a divine love that will lead us to walk in the ways of Christ.