A different kind of Love
|Image Source: Mandy von Stahl|
The ancient Greeks had a number of different words to describe love.
Eros is erotic love. It is the type of love that many people will be experiencing today on Valentines Day...
Storge is a deep sense of affection between human beings that develops naturally, like the love that a parent has for their children.
Phylia describes the powerful emotional bond found in deep friendships.
I would argue that all three of these types of love are dependant on how worthy the person is to be loved. If we love someone with the Eros, Storge and Phylia type of love, our love for them could always change when we believe that they are not worthy of that love anymore.
But there is a fourth word used to describe love in the ancient Greek language: Agape.
Agape is the love that God has for all humankind. It is the love that Jesus commands from us when he tells us to "love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength" and "love your neighbour as you love yourselves." It is the type of unconditional, committed, self-sacrificing love that is so desperately needed in marriages today.
Agape is a love that loves someone regardless of whether they are worthy of it or not. In fact, it is a love that makes one worthy because of it!
Think of it like this... We all know someone who has a pet of some kind that we could never, ever imagine owning ourselves. Perhaps it is a frog, snake or even just a really ugly dog. At first, no matter how hard we try, we just cannot understand how on earth they could love such an ugly creature.
But the more that this person pours their love out on their pet, the more worthy it feels. Not only that, but through seeing their love, we also begin to feel that their pet is worthy of love as well.
Agape love does not love someone because they are worthy. When someone is loved with agape love, they are transformed into being worthy.
Perhaps this valentines day, we can be reminded to agape people in our lives, not because they deserve it, but because through our love, they can feel and become worthy.
"Agape is kind; agape does not envy; agape does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Agape has no fear; it does not worry; agape keeps no records of wrongs; never fails... And now abide faith, hope, agape, these three; but the greatest of these is agape."
- 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8,13 (NKJV)