Tuesday, April 13, 2010
On Sunday, Filipe preached a sermon entitled "Reviving a Struggling Relationship". Instead of approaching the subject from a self-help point of view with three easy steps to heal your relationships, he took a much deeper look at the root of relational problems: our misunderstanding of what true love looks like. While the English language can only boast of ONE word to captivate "love", the Greek language uses four: storge, eros, phileo, and agape.
If I tried to explain each type of love as well as Filipe did, this post would get really long. Instead I just want to share one insight. Filipe gave the definition for agape love as sacrificial, unselfish, unconditional, a desire for someone's greatest good on the basis of a decision of will.
The first three levels of love (storge, eros, and phileo) require nothing supernatural. Most humans experience these at some point. But to love with agape love requires supernatural intervention. God has to get involved.
Sometimes it feels easy and natural to love the people in our lives. There's a certain attractiveness about them (whether that person is a child/adult/male/female). But sometimes relationships are hard. And ugly. And hurtful. And nothing about them feels easy or natural. That is when we need the divine intervention of God's agape love.
Just because it's difficult to love someone doesn't let us off the hook of our God-given responsibility. "If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even tax-collectors doing that?" We are given a higher standard...loving those who hurt us, who grate on our nerves, who defy everything we stand for.
I don't know who you are having a difficult time loving today. But the beauty of your struggle is that God has to get involved. You can't love them in your own strength. But His strength is made perfect in our weakness!