The Power Of Unconditional Love
Several years ago some children were asked to share their thoughts about love:
Glen, age 7 said, “If falling in love is anything like learning how to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long.”
May, age 9 said this about love: “No one is sure why it happens, but I heard it has something to do with how you smell. That’s why perfume and deodorant are so popular.”
Dave, age 8 said: “Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it. I’ve been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me.”
Kirsten, age 10 said this about marriage: “Being single is better because I wouldn’t want to change no diapers. Of course if I did get married, I’d figure something out. I’d just phone my mother and have her come over for some coffee and diaper-changing.”
There are so many misconceptions about what love is in our culture. And all of us (no matter how old we are) need to grow in our understanding of love. Fortunately, the Bible speaks a great deal about love. One of my favorite bible passages is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 13. It is called the great love chapter because in just a few short sentences it gives so much wisdom about what true love really is. And my favorite verses from the chapter are versese 4 and 5:
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant. Love does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, it is not provoked. Love does not take into account a wrong suffered.”
Those verses that were written almost 2000 years ago are truly profound. The Bible’s New Testament was written in Greek. The Bible uses several different words for love. One of the Greek words is Phileo. Philadelphia is called “the city of Brotherly Love.” Its’ name comes from the word Phileo. This is the kind of love that binds two close friends together. This type of love is based on mutual affection and appreciation and on common interests. It often says, “You scratch my back and I will scratch yours.”
As important and wonderful as Phileo (friendship love) is, there is still a deeper and more eternal love: Agape love. This is the word for love that is given in this chapter in 1st Corinthians. Agape love is “unconditional love.” Agape love always looks out for the best interest of the other person. Agape love places the needs of the other person above their own. It continues to love the other person, even when they are acting unlovable. It is a love that is willing to sacrifice. It is the type of love that can endure hard times.
It is a love that some would say is too lavish. It is a forgiving love. This is the kind of Jesus spoke about in His sermon on Mount: He said that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. He said we are to forgive each other, not just 2 or 3 times but 70 X 7. He said, that He did not come to be served (which was His right) but to serve others and give His life as a ransom for many. This of course is the ultimate example of sacrificial love.
What person in your life especially needs Agape (unconditional) love? In what ways can you be the one to meet their needs?