Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What is God's Kind of Love?

What is God's kind of love when it comes to loving people? Good question. God's kind of love works best when opened like a gift and used properly. The Bible describes three kinds of love: eros (air'-ohs) passionate love; phileo (filay'-oh) brotherly love;and agape (ah-gah'-pay) unconditional love. The third, agape or unconditional love, is the love a parent should have toward a child, a spouse toward their mate, that God has toward us, and how we should love others.

The word "love" is tossed around lightly today. God's kind of love means to delight in, to admire, and to cherish someone. To cherish is perhaps best. This is the kind of love that grows roots deep into a person. We can get to know God's kind of love through studying His word, praying that He reveals Himself to us, and realizing that He loved us so much he let His Son die for us.

It gets us to thinking - do we love anyone that much? That we would give up a child or any other greatest relationship in life, just so that another person could live?

The Old Testament says "Love God with all your heart, all your mind, all your body and all your soul" (Deuteronomy 6:5). The New Testament repeats this, and adds “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Mark 12:30-31). This is an all-consuming love which doesn't depend on the emotion of a given moment. It is a love that strives to please the beloved. That's how much God loves us, and wants us to love Him.

Even when we make mistakes, and have to face the consequences of those mistakes, He's there for us. He will never turn His back on us. Only when we realize this, can we begin in our small human way to return that love to Him. And without the capacity to love God, we lack the capacity to love other humans unconditionally.

Unconditional love doesn't mean we accept everything a person does. It includes having the courage to tell them they are wrong, no matter how they treat us afterward, and to go on loving them anyway. That's God's kind of love. We can sin, we can turn our back on Him, but He will always be there for us...if we want Him. When we learn that God and his ways are better than anything else, then we can have faith and love Him enough to want to keep His commandments.

P.S. - Nobody can keep all the commandments all the time. Humanly impossible. That is the grace that comes with God's love. The key is to have a conscience about what is right and wrong and good and bad, so that we can learn from our mistakes and set those things aside.

People are currently saying "right and wrong is a value call" because they are rejecting God and coming to the end of their conscience. Romans 1:21 says: "Because they knew (of) God, but they neither glorified him nor gave thanks to him, their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened." Loving God and genuinely loving people can turn darkness to light and surpass mere tolerance a hundred fold.

c. 2009, Sheryl Young


APRIL LORIER May 21, 2009 at 8:13 PM  

I think that's why so many people misunderstand the love of God. They're thinking emotionally. I remember Tammy Faye Bakker used to sing, "I Wonder If God Cries." She was thinking emotionally.
Good article, Sheryl!

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