Here are some notes to accompany the radio broadcast, Conversations with Cinthia on FaithTalk1360, where we discussed loving the difficult and unlovable people in our ives on Sunday. Whether they are a family member, a friend, or a politician on the screen during this heated election cycle "Agape Love" is something we need to embrace and practice on a daily basis.
What is agape love?
The Greek word agape is often translated as simply the word "love" in the New Testament. So how then is "agape love" different from other types of love? The essence of agape love is self-sacrifice. Unlike our English word “love,” agape is not used in the Bible to refer to romantic or sexual love. Nor does it refer to close friendship or brotherly love, for which the Greek word philia is used. Nor does agape mean charity, a term which the King James translators carried over from the Latin. Agape is truly sacrifice.
Agape love is unique and is distinguished by its nature and character. Agape is love which is of and from God, whose very nature is love itself. The Apostle John affirms this in 1 John 4:8: “God is love.” God does not merely love; He is love itself. Everything God does flows from His love. But it is important to remember that God’s love is not a sappy, sentimental love such as we often hear portrayed. God loves because that is His nature and the expression of His being. He loves the unlovable and the unlovely (us!), not because we deserve to beloved, but because it is His nature to do so, and He must be true to His nature and character. God’s love is displayed most clearly at the Cross, where Christ died for the unworthy creatures who were “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), not because we did anything to deserve it, “but God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). The object of agape love never does anything to merit His love. We are the undeserving recipients upon whom He lavishes that love. His love was demonstrated when He sent His Son into the world to “seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10), and to provide eternal life to those He sought and saved. He paid the ultimate sacrifice for those He loves.
In the same way, we are to love others sacrificially. A good example of Agape Love is the Good Samaritan. Remember to use this proverb and truth when dealing with those you feel are difficult in your lives. You are to practice "agape love". We do not know someone's story, sin, or struggle, but we what we do know is how Christ, who is love in and through us, practices complete sacrificial love and we are to do the same. Pour out His sacrificial love and drown others in it...whether we believe they deserve it or not.