Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Love is a misunderstood word, and yet probably more songs and poems have been written with love as their theme than any other subject. I feel convinced that if you were to ask Joe Bloggins what he thought love is, he would reply that love is a sexual act. If you were to ask a married mother what love is, she might describe it as caring for her husband and children. This aspect of love brings us closer to the altruistic meaning, which is selfless ‘giving’ without expectation of reward.
The Greeks in biblical times used three different words to describe aspects of love: Eros, for sexual love; phileo for ardent affection, as one may love a brother or a very special friend, and agapao, being goodwill to the extent that a man may give his life in exchange for another’s, as Jesus laid down His life on a cross. This is the love that Christians should have for one another. The same word is used in 1 John 4:8 to describe the essential nature of God.
When we love someone we may forget to tell them, but it’s so important within a relationship to say the words. Actions and gestures are not enough. The other person needs to hear these words of assurance. Are we negligent of telling our partners that we love them? Do we give them hugs of reassurance and speak words of encouragement? If we do, we are partners in love, both in the agapao and the phileo sense, which we all need. Now, there’s a time and a place for the eros expression of love which is divinely blessed for the procreation of children, and as an act and expression of a deeper love for ones partner.
Sadly, in our times, youngsters are not taught the sanctity of marriage and the special relationship between a man and his wife, where sexual relations are shared only between the two. We now have the base extreme where young people undertake sexual acts which they record as digital images for display and exchange via their mobile phones! They call it ‘sexting’. How lewd and indecent is that? And what hope is there for them when it comes to understanding real love and virtue?
Please parents, teach your children to love in the fullest sense, by example, with agape love, i.e., Godly love, the love that really cares and counts. (1 Corinthians 13:13)