The Agape Kind of Love versus the Pandemic of the Touchy Feely
1 Corinthians 13:4-8:
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends.
What is love?
If polled, people on the street would have a variety of definitions of what the word love means. And honestly,
most of them probably share Snooky’s definition.
Almost everyone equates Love to the feelings or emotions of the moment. Their love almost seems to sit on shifting sands.
Sadly, I bet most Christians would see love the same way unfortunately. Even Christians seem to take most of their cues from popular culture.
Three kinds of love
In case you don’t know, there are actually three kinds of love. You can find teach on demonstrated, somewhat, in the bible.
There is the EROS kind of love.
Think romance! The initial sparks that brings a man and a woman together.
“I feel for this person, or that person.”
“I fell in love with _________ as though it was unavoidable”
Eros love hits people as though they were walking down the street and fell into an open hole.
The Song of Solomon with all of its use of allegory uses the representation of Eros love in comparison with Christ as the Bridegroom, and The Church, the Bride.
In fact, in olden days past, Jewish boys were not permitted to read The Song of Solomon till they became of age because of the intimate nature of examples it uses.
There is the non-romantic love, the kind of brotherly or sisterly love. A platonic love. No romantic affection involved.
This is the PHILOS kind of love.
The relationship between David and Jonathan, Paul and Barnabas, Or Ruth and Naomi in the bible would be examples of PHILOS love.
And then there is the love most mentioned in the bible. And “Thank ya Jesus!” it is the most important kind of love (bar none).
It’s the kind of love that keeps wives loving husbands and husbands loving wives. Most importantly, it’s the love displayed when Jesus went to the cross for us.
Even when we are the most unlovable creatures possible, this love continues through disappointments, broken promises, lies or arrogance. AGAPE love keeps loving, and loving and loving.
Agape love has no bounds, no limits, no ending.
It is unconditionally committed at the core of its existence.
It’s the kind of love that we parents feel for our children.
There is almost nothing they can do to make us un-love them. They can be nasty and grumpy; do and say horrific things about us, and yet we still love them.
And as long as we adhere to the principles of Agape love, we will always love them no matter what they do.
This even means we will even uncomfortably correct them at their (and our) displeasure, out of love (to see them walk the right track).
Love one another??
I think really, most people are unaware of what is meant by the “love one another” command Jesus presented to us in John 13:34-35. And why do I say this? Because it seems real love is so infrequently visible in society and very often in the church.
And unfortunately, when love is displayed, it is rarely towards those outside of our circle.
Why is this?
Myself, I believe it’s because we are so accustomed to seeing love as a noun and not the verb that it is.
Somewhere in our brainwashing from The World, we lose the semantics of the word!
In the Word of God, “love” rarely takes on the form of Eros love. It more often takes on the form of Philos than Eros love.
But we see the theme of Agape love splattered throughout the bible as the main doctrine of how a Christian is to love!
Love not a feeling
People take a look at the word “love” in the bible and instantly, and unfortunately, because of conditioning from the world, attach some feeling to it: maybe a little Phylos; or a touch of Eros. As though loving someone demands that we rewire our emotions and force some sort of positive un-genuine emotional response.
As though to love someone you must somehow feel this amorous feeling towards them, something favorable.
It’s tough loving some people. It sometimes seems impossible to love or forgive certain people because you are unable to dig up a positive emotional response towards them.
And even when our hearts are right, we seldom know how to love people. Because we think it means some emotional change in us towards someone, that we maybe don’t feel at this time.
Sometimes people just don’t get along. We know that not every relationship is designed to be intimate, enjoyable or even pleasant. Not everyone can get along in what I call a “Bliss Bubble.”
Not all personalities enjoy company together. Some people’s personalities actually clash! It’s like trying to mix garlic with Jello, or Richard Simmons with Chuck Norris.
So if the bible tells us to love one another, does that mean we have to take our emotions and hammer them and twist them and distort them? Mold them into this kind of fictional feeling. This forced kind of positive emotion?
Considering that Mark 12:31 commands to “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
And that this is the second most important commandment in the bible, then you and I might be in trouble if we can’t generate this “love” for our annoying neighbor. The one who is too loud and doesn’t know how to pull his pants up while cutting the grass.
Is this really what the bible means by love one another?
I mean we could take this a step deeper and more uncomfortable, how about our marriages?
Everyone knows that the honeymoon finishes eventually (I mean accept for me and my wife, it’s always a Disney movie with us….er…ya).
When the glitter is gone, or first time the control top pantyhose are left in the drawer, or you smell what might be the remnants of a rotting badger in his breath. Perhaps it will be the first time one of you forgets to flush the toilet!
The honeymoon is over folks (or close to it!).
Your Prince Charming may now have been just reduced to a Y chromosome with back hair. And instead of receiving the flowers of the season and a compliment when he comes home, you may get a grunt and some dirty Tupperware.
And what about your first fight?
You see this quiet, supportive, loving wife roar into this creature who would dine on your flesh if presented to her.
And you know, yes, you know what goes through your head.
“Did I make a mistake in marrying this person?”
And this question may be repeated over and over in one’s head, the more arguments or fights that you have!
And then maybe the unthinkable happens, you think about the possibility of
And you guys are in for some trouble if you let the enemy (who roars after God’s saints like a lion- 1 Peter 5:8) keep getting into your skull like this!
The grass always looks greener till you get there and find the Tootsie Rolls scattered amongst the clover. This whole scenario is a result of a wrong definition of love.
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