Christian love " AGAPE"
- Dear Members,
Our lord Jesus Christ taught us saying " " This is my commandment , that
you love one another as I loved you". [ John 15:12 ].
To fully understand Jesus' command to love one another, it helps to look
at the Greek word for love most often used in the New Testament. For in
the Greek language, unlike in English, there are four different words
used for four different types of love. These Greek words are Storge,
Philia, Eros, and agape.
Storge is the Greek word for the love between family members. This is
affection. Storge is most clearly evident in the love of parents for
their children. Most parents are so devoted to their children's welfare
that they are willing to sacrifice and do most anything, even unto
death, for the sake their children. Storge is also the love children
feel for their parents, as well as the love between relatives in an
extended family. Storge is a committed, often sacrificial love. It
doesn't expect too much, revives easily after quarrels, is
unconditional, often overlooks the other's faults and frequently
forgives. We often take the storge love of our family members for
granted. Storge is the love where we can be comfortable and secure just
being in the presence of one another. Just being together in comfortable
closeness is often enough.
Philia is the love between good friends. Philia is also called
"platonic" love. Philia is a chosen love, because we choose whom we will
befriend - usually on the basis of shared interests. Philia is more
conditional and less sacrificial than storge. Philia is less willing to
continually overlook faults and frequently forgive others.
Eros is the Greek word for romantic/sexual love and is the root of the
English word erotic. Eros is the passionate feeling of romantic
attraction felt between two lovers. It is also associated with
infatuation and lust. Unlike friends who stand side-by-side absorbed in
some common interest, eros lovers are normally face-to-face absorbed
with each other. Since eros is a passionate feeling and because we
cannot decide what we will feel, we usually do not choose this type of
love. That's why we say a man and a woman "fall in love." Eros ("being
in love") usually just happens. Of course, this does not mean we must
always give in to the desires of these passions. While we cannot decide
what we feel, we can and should control what we do in response to our
Passionate love is often expected to last throughout the many years of
marriage but many young newlyweds are often surprised and disheartened
when the "fires of passion" begin to decay. However, it is perfectly
normal for this passionate love to diminish in intensity over time. What
often takes its place in marriage and grows over time is the more
secure, committed, and comfortable love of storge. Since feelings come
and go, when a man and a woman get married they cannot promise to have
passionate feelings of love for each other forever. Rather, what they
can and should promise is a commitment of the will to the lifelong good
of the other, no matter what lies ahead in their lives.
Agape is the word most often used in the New Testament to describe
Christian love. Agape is made manifest in our acts of charity and
service for others, including those who we may not even know or like.
Agape is unconditional in that it does not expect anything in return.
Unlike Eros, agape is not a feeling that just happens. Rather, like
Philia, Agape is a chosen and committed love. Agape takes a decision of
our free will, a commitment to act for the good of another. Like Storge,
Agape is self-giving, sacrificial and unreciprocated love. It is the
love Jesus made manifest for us on the cross.
Agape flows from the abundant, overflowing, and unconditional love of
God. After all, God is love. Agape is God's divine love made visible in
our good works of charity and service. It is a joyful and spiritual love
that grows in our lives by the grace of God. The Holy Spirit is the
source of agape love. Agape is the love that Christians are called to
manifest in their lives by unconditional acts of goodwill and charity
for others, especially the poor and disadvantaged.
Content from C.S. Lewis book, The Four Loves.
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