Let’s Talk About Love
When thinking of love, the most common type of love that comes to mind is romantic love like what we see in the movies or on television. Love, however, has many sides and expressions. It is what you feel for your parents, siblings, friends, and, yes, your romantic interests as well. God doesn’t see love in the same way that we do. 1 John 4:8 says;
“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
So if God is love then He must know love pretty well. After all, I think its safe to assume that God knows Himself pretty well. As for our own vision, 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 12 tells us;
“…for now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
Here on earth, our vision is limited. We see only the finite and the things of the moment. Even our memories are faded and often inaccurate. But when we see God face to face, we will know not only Him but also ourselves fully. We will know and be known by Love.
In the mean time, it is our job as Christians to find out as best we can who Love ie. God is, how He sees us, what He wants us to be, and then pass the knowledge we gain of him onto others so that they can also meet, and get to know Him.
Knowing that God is Love, we should know what love really is so that we can begin to understand Him. Using the Bible as our source, lets look at the four kinds of love that are most common throughout the Bible and in our lives.
“Storge” Love: This is the Greek word for familial love. It is the kind of love that can be inherent in the relationship between parents and children, siblings, and other family members. C.S. Lewis, in his book “The Four Loves”, writes that Storge love is ‘the humblest and most widely diffused of loves’. It is the love taken for granted. Something almost owed and rarely questioned. This love often begins in us because we were first loved. Our parents love us and in return we love them. 1 John 4:19 says;
“We love Him because he first loved us.”
Think about how you feel about the people in your family. In many ways it is a given that you love them. This is the easiest and most humble of loves and most likely the easiest to maintain.
Phileo Love: Another Greek word for another type of love. Phileo is the love between friends. It is gained through a shared activity, belief, or other commonality between the two friends. It is a love that can stand alone or in concert with the other forms of love including Storge love. Phileo love requires work. If two friends do not speak to each other or stop sharing the same activities, thoughts, or values, it is likely that the friendship will end.
Eros Love: Eros is a selfish love. It is about the senses and the receiving of pleasure from the object of love, which can be a spouse or romantic interest. If a person feels only this type of love for someone with no other form of love working in concert with it then it is likely that the people involved will suffer a sense of emptiness which can lead to an end of the relationship. In order for Eros, or erotic love to survive for a lifetime, there must be phileo and storga; hopefully the friendship and the familial love are stronger than the eros. In many relationships this is not the case.
Agape love: This is the highest form of love. It is the love that Christ had for us when he hung on the cross; the love that God had for us as he allowed us to crucify His Son; the love that he shows us every time we screw up again and come back to Him on our knees begging for forgiveness. It is an undeserved love of sacrifice. You could spend your life learning about this type of love and never truly understand it.One more thing about this type of love; it is a choice, a verb, an action. When we experience this kind of love from God or another person it is because they chose to love you. It is also the riskiest kind of love in that it is unconditional and given in spite of what we receive back.
The Whole Package: When combined with the first three, Agape love in any relationship can forge a bond that is unbreakable. I believe these four types of love are why marriage was instituted by God. These four are the types of love that God wants to share with us and through us. No other earthly state more clearly represents God’s love for us than that of marriage.
So, if we know that God is love, and that there are four major types of love that he shows us and that he gives us, then what does He want us to do with that love? Simple. Give it back AND give it away.
I prayed to know in my heart His love for the world, and this was my most prideful, foolish, and dangerous prayer. It was my step into the abyss. As soon as I prayed it, I knew that I would die. I knew the old wrong and the death that lay in the world.
Just as a good man would not coerce the love of his wife, God does not coerce the love of His human creatures, not for Himself or for the world or for one another. To allow that love to exist fully and freely, He must allow it not to exist at all. His love is suffering. It is our freedom and His sorrow … And yet all the good I know is in this, that a man might so love this world that it would break his heart.
God is in covenant with us. He chooses to love us in spite of the fact that we can, and often do, turn our backs on that love. He loves us anyway – for free.