You have probably heard the term “agape love,” but may not be really clear on what it means. What is agape love? How is it any different from the dozens of other ways we use the word love?
First, let’s understand what it is not. It is not romantic love, because people of all faiths (and no faiths) experience romantic love. It is not brotherly love, where you have a natural chemistry with another person. Terrorists and members of the mafia experience brotherly love. There’s certainly nothing uniquely Christian about that!
Agape love is unconditional love. It is a choice we make to love another person whether they love us back or not. It means that you choose to love someone even if he is your enemy! Agape love is not based on emotion at all. In fact, it may be contrary to our every emotion. It is an act of the will.
Agape love presents a real challenge for us Christians. It is tough to live out because it’s hard to love someone who doesn’t respond to you in the way you would desire. And all of us are going to have certain individuals—even within the body of Christ—that we have to struggle to love. And yet, God’s word is very clear: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God. Now, you couldn’t find a more clear command about what we’re called to do as followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus “agape loves” us and commands us to “agape love” others.