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Those of us who speak English have a handicap when talking about love.
I love my wife.
I love my children.
I love ice cream.
These are all true statements. These are three different things. At least they better be. The Greek of the New Testament uses different words for love.
The love of a man and woman as husband and wife normally has sex involved to be complete. This love is the love that involves total sharing and surrender of one’s self for the other. When my life partner is happy, I am happy. When she is sad or in pain, I am in pain. This is good, God put it into us for His purpose. This purpose could fill a book all by itself, but that is not what this book is about.
The love of a parent for a child is also very valuable. This is the protective love. The love that causes one to sacrifice everything to help the one he loves. Husbands and wives must have this type of love for each other. This love is the love that guarantees survival of the species. This love is the love that causes animals (even humans) to protect, feed, and educate their young.
The love I have for ice cream is not one that involves emotions. At least it should not. This is a desire, a desire evolving from pleasure, hunger, or even a nutritional need. You may not agree that I have a nutritional need for ice cream, but I know I do. And, chocolate too!
But there is still another love that is not covered by the above. This is agapé. This is unconditional. This is the love we choose to exercise, even though we may detest the other person. This is the love Jesus commanded us to follow. We must love even those we perceive to be our enemy. Christians must love, honor, respect, and understand all people. This is the love that spans racial, social, and religious barriers. This is the love a straight person must have for a gay person. Do we take seriously the gospel of forgiveness and love? You may claim Christianity but is it possible to be Christian and not follow Christ’s commands? I claim that you are not Christian, unless you voluntarily exercise this love.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
He whose heart is in the smallest degree set upon Goodness will dislike no one.
We can do no great things, only small things with great love.
1. John 15:12
2. Confucius - Analects 4:4
3. Mother Theresa of Calcutta
copyright© 2007 George L Snyder