GREEK TO ME
“There is no word in our language which has been so much misused and prostituted as the word love . . . It has been made so empty that for many people love may mean no more than that two people have lived together for twenty years just without fighting more often than once a week.” — Erich Fromm
1 John 3:16
What does love look like?
Buying your wife flowers on a whim?
Loaning your car to a friend in need?
Calling your grandmother just to ask about her day?
Paying for the groceries of the single mother behind you in line?
All are good answers, but fall short of defining what Jesus asks of us when He commands us to “Love” in the new commandment.
When spoken in English, the conversation on “What is love?” gets murky. Our English rolls up all the linguistic conceptions of affection into one “L” word that most associate with the feeling you get before you get married, the same one you’ll probably lose a few years later. Certainly this is not the highest purpose to which Jesus is calling us. Something must be getting lost in translation.
The Greeks had a grasp of the many different tones of the word love, as well as the sense to differentiate the labels depending on the meaning they carried:
Eros, sexual love and the root of “erotic.”
Philea, the love among friends.
Storge, the love felt for family.
Agape, self-emptying love.
So which one was Jesus talking about so much in the New Testament? He was not speaking of a fleeting feeling. Agape love, the love He gives to us (and in turn asks us to give to our neighbor) is self-sacrificial. It is when a person lays down his or her life for a friend: if not once on a cross, then in small doses daily.
What does agape look like?
It looks uncomfortable.
It looks risky.
It looks like skin in the game.
Whatever the manifestation, though never one-size-fits-all, it always requires a step outside the comfort zone. What the comfort zone looks like depends on the one attempting to love:
For a peacemaker, love looks like honesty.
For a challenger, love looks like following someone else’s lead.
For a perfectionist, love looks like letting go of control.
What does uncomfortable love look like for you?
Who has been an example of agape love in your life?
Who is someone in your daily life that could use some of this love?
© Revolworks 2018