“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.”
2 Thessalonians 3:5
Perhaps you’ve heard the term before, but the meaning always remained a bit fuzzy. Well, you’re not alone. With so many different meanings of the word “love,” what is agape love?
To clarify things a bit, let’s first look a little at what agape love is not.
Agape love is not romantic love.
People of all faiths (and those with no faith) experience romantic love. On the other hand, agape love is not brotherly love – the kind of love where you have natural chemistry, or friendship, 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’s 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 or she is your enemy. Agape love is not based on emotion at all. In fact, it may be contrary to our every emotion. Agape love is an act of the will.
Now, this kind of love presents a real challenge for us Christians. It’s tough to live out because it’s hard to love someone who doesn’t respond to you in the way you’d like. And no matter how much we try to avoid difficult people, there will always be certain individuals—even within the body of Christ—who are just hard 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 clearer command about what we’re called to do as followers of Jesus Christ.
We love because God loved us first. God loved us when we didn’t love Him. God loved us when our sins crucified His Son on the cross.
God “agape loves” us and commands us to “agape love” others.
Written by Bryant Wright, Founder, RFTH