Monday, February 13, 2012

Love, What Is It?

“For God so loved the world,

He gave his only begotten son,

that whosoever believes in Him

shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16 (KJV)

As we prepare to celebrate St. Valentines Day tomorrow, do we ever wonder what we mean by love? Hollywood has given us certain ideas about it over the decades. Too bad their interpretation is usually flawed.

When I was in high school, the youth advisors at my church gave a program on the different meanings of love. The Greek language had four different words that, when translated, meant love.

First they had Philios, which was a love between kinsmen. We get the name Philadelphia- the city of brotherly love, - from this word. Another word the Greeks used was Eros, meaning the love between a man and a woman-romantic love. Yet another term familiar to the Greeks was agape, wanting the best for another person, unconditional unselfish love. The closest modern day example we have of this is the love between friends or between those who share the same faith. Storge is the form of love seen between family members.

Sometimes, we humans mess things up. We actually can ‘get it wrong.’ Recently, I heard a youth service message on love. The speaker had done excellent research on the subject. His title for his talk was “Love- feeling or commitment.” He guided us through the Greek terminology and explored the Biblical book, Son of Solomon. He concluded saying that love was both a feeling-which can be fleeting and a commitment-which brings permanence to a relationship. Our youth speaker got it right.

We have hymns and praise songs that speak of God’s love for us. Such Love, Love Divine All Love Excelling, Jesus Loves The Little Children, Jesus Loves Me, His Stubborn Love, all speak of the degree to which God cares for us and wants what’s best for us.

God loves us so that He gave us His Son to be with us for a while. He also gave up His Son to death on a cross- a death only reserved for the vilest of criminals- so that you and I could be with Him in heaven at the end of or days here on earth.

Romantic love is nice. We enjoy the time with our spouses. Family love is the glue that allows us to be together, a cohesive unit. Brotherly love helps us live in harmony in this world. God’s grace for us is the dearest form of love we can experience.

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