I have been dwelling on agape love, a selfless love, for a long time. Studying scripture verses, looking up the definition of the Greek words used to define it. The Lord has been bountiful in His help.
This week He provided more information in a chapter of my Bible study, “Living Wisely” by Cynthia Heald. This author wrote about the difficulty she had loving her father who was an unpredictable man who caused stress. Her way of dealing with the situation was to distance herself from him. But this way of coping was not of God, she wrote. We are to love others as Christ loves us (John 13:34).
“Christ’s love is unconditional, sacrificial, and everlasting,” wrote Heald. 1
It is important to understand this love, for it proves to the world we are Christ’s disciples (John 13:35).
It has nothing to do with how people treat us, but everything to do with how we treat them.
Reading modern advice columns, I see the lack of agape in the world. Here are a few of the issues that would be easy to resolve with sacrificial love.
**Neighbors ask this person to take care of their cat but never reciprocate or bring a thank you gift. Often they ask for the favor the night before leaving town. [Tell them it is your pleasure to help them out.]
**A father keeps sending articles on career advice the recipient finds insulting. Other than the messages he sends, contact is limited. The son or daughter wants to know how to tell their father to stop giving unsolicited advice. [Thank dad for the advice. Regularly invite dad to meet you for coffee, breakfast, or lunch.]
**When family members came to town, which is a tourist area, one couple let them stay in the motorhome parked in their driveway. This helped their family save money on the price of a hotel. Hospitality was further extended by hooking up water, gas, and electricity to the motorhome. Yet upon their departure, the family members simple stripped the bed before leaving.
Advice was needed on how to let these family members know the motorhome was no longer an option when they came to town. [Continue to be hospitable. Make your motorhome available to out-of-town guests anytime you are in town.]2
Agape love is not an “if you do this, I’ll do that” kind of love. Yet often we want it to be so, and we justify our response with the term “setting boundaries.” Truthfully, I need to find the scriptural guidelines for this practice because I am not so sure it is currently being used correctly. [I will be writing about what I find.] There are too many severed relationships within Christian families.
Agape love cannot be practiced apart from Christ for it is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
Rom 5:5—”Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” NKJV
We cannot expect this love from the world, but we are expected to demonstrate the love of Christ to the world.
In the next few weeks, I am going to be purposely practicing agape love. This entails looking for all the opportunities God presents and charting my response. I will record my reaction, how it is right or wrong according to God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit’s direction on how to show the love of Christ.
Let me know if you will join me in this challenge in the comments below.
1-“Living Wisely, Believing the Truths of Scripture” by Cynthia Heald, NavPress.
2-“Real Simple” magazine March 2022 issue, “Modern Manners.”
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