AGAPE

A son called his mother from a country overseas where he had gone together with his fellow soldiers for
a peace keeping mission. The conversation went something like this:

Son: Hi Mum, our mission is now over and we’ll be on our way home very soon
Mother: Very well son, we can’t wait to welcome you back!
Son: Mum, I’ve got one request to make.
Mother: Anything you want dear.
Son: I have a friend of mine who has no place to go to and he would like to come home with me.
Mother: That’s no problem son, we’ve always been a generous and a loving family and you know that,right?
Son: Yes Mother…but there’s something else I would like you to know about my friend…..
Mother: What son?
Son: My friend was injured in the battle field and…unfortunately, he lost an arm and a leg.
Mother: But son….you know that we have our lives to live, how will we care for your friend…it is so involving to take care of such a person and…

The line went dead. The following day, another caller was on the line. The parents were asked to go to
the foreign country to identify a body of one of the soldiers who had committed suicide the previous
night. Their worst fears were confirmed when they identified the body. It was that of their only son, who
had called the previous day. They also noted something else; their son didn’t have an arm and a leg!
One of the greatest limitations of English language is in the use of the word LOVE. The word has been
used to mean different things in English. The same word is used to describe feelings towards a pen, a
car, one’s spouse, God, or even candies!

Eros and Philleo

In Greek there are three different words which can be translated as “love” in English, each with different
connotations. The first word is eros, from which we get the English word ‘erotic.’ Eros is the word used
to express sexual love or the feelings of arousal that are shared between people who are physically
attracted to one another. By New Testament times, this word had become so debased by the culture
that it is not used even once in the entire New Testament.

The second Greek word for love is phileo, which forms part of the words ‘philosophy’ (love of wisdom)
or philanthropy (love of fellow man). This word speaks more of the warm affection shared between
family or friends. Whereas eros is more closely associated with the libido, phileo can be more associated
with the emotions, or the heart (metaphorically speaking). We feel love for our friends and family,
obviously not in the eros sense, but a love that motivates us to want to treat them kindly and help them
succeed. However, phileo is not felt between people who are at enmity with one another. We can feel
phileo love toward friends and family, but not toward people whom we dislike or hate.
Love of God: Agape

Different from Eros and Philleo is the third Greek word for love, Agape, typically defined as the “selfsacrificing
love.” It is the love that moves people into action and looks out for the well-being of others,
no matter the personal cost. Agape is the love God showed to His people in sending His Son, Jesus, to
die for their sin. It is the love that focuses on the will, not the emotions or libido. This is the love that
Jesus commands His disciples to show toward their enemies (Luke 6:35). Eros and phileo are not
expressed to people who hate us and wish us ill; Agape is. In Romans 5:8, Paul tells us that God’s love
for His people was made manifest in that “while we were still sinners [i.e., enemies], Christ died for us.”
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 be loved, 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).
We are the undeserving recipients upon whom He lavishes that love.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should
not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

This verse reads in greek as below:

(For God so loved the world , that he gave his only begotten Son , that whosoever believeth in him should not perish , but have everlasting life ).

This is the kind of love God expects us to show our fellow mankind. We ought to love sacrificially and
unconditionally.

This is the love that draws us to eternal life. This love must be received and responded to. We are
eternally damned if we reject it; neither will we have another opportunity to experience it again. God
couldn’t demonstrate it better:

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than
this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you
(John 15:12-14).

For this is the true Love. AGAPE.

BY: David Adede (Poet, singer and writer)

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