30 Days of Encouragement - Day 21
Everybody Loves Love
We are told to love one another, to love our neighbor, to love ourselves, and to love God. My mother told me once that I was "in love with love."
But what is love? There must be a difference in the types of love because I don't love my favorite food in the same way that I love my spouse.
In the English language, the single word "love" is used to describe every type of love. We learn there are differences between the types of love because experience teachers us.
Childhood Days Are Gone
As children, we associate the word "love" with everything that makes us happy. We love our toys, our games, our songs, Sesame Street, and Mr. Rogers. We make no distinctions regarding depth or range. Not surprisingly, we also hate as generally as we love.
As we grow, we develop distinctions. I love Saturday morning cartoons, but not like I love my mother. I love friends, but not like I love my family. As we continue to develop, the simple word "love" expands to show more and more of its complex meanings. My experience is teaching me.
As I discover the multiple meanings of the word "love," I wonder why and how this one word can cover so much ground.
Different Types of Love - The First 4
The ancient Greek philosophers recognized the different types of emotions expressed by love. So, they took the time to break it down into seven smaller concepts.
- Storge Love - This type of love is the love that we have toward our parents and children. There is a depth to it that stirs commitment and drives responsibility.
- Philia Love - This type of love is the love that we have toward our close friends. Philia love is what makes your teenagers prefer their friends to their parents.
- Eros - This type of love is sexual love, demonstrated by physical passion and physical desire for others. This love is fueled by lust and self-satisfaction. Eros works in conjunction with the love you have for your spouse.
- Agape -This type of love is the love that God has towards mankind. Agape love is unconditional, meaning your condition does not stop me from loving for you.
The Last Three
5. Ludus - This type of love is related to Eros. It is the flirtatious, seductive. The excitement of attempting to begin or in the experience of beginning a new couple relationship is an example of this type of love.
6. Pragma - This type of love is seen in couples who have been together for a long time. It is the oneness, familiarity, and comfort expressed through maintaining a commitment.
7. Philautia - This type of love is the love that Jesus spoke of when He told us to, "Love thy neighbor as ye love thyself". The presumption is that we know how to love ourselves.
Human and Not Divine
These six types of love: storge, philia, and eros, ludus, pragma, and philautia flow from us without our thinking. They are natural and common to all mankind. They are also all subject to imbalances, subject to hurting as opposed to helping.
Human love can only offer so much. We are limited in how we love. Our thoughts, expectations, and emotions contaminate our ability to love unconditionally. We love today and hate tomorrow.
The Foundation of Them All
It is the seventh type of love, the agape love that is the foundation of the others. It is the agape love poured into us that empowers us, strengthens us, and enables us to love others.
Agape love gives us life. It is love without stipulations, love without obligations, or expectations. Agape love doesn't stop loving you even if you don't love back. It is the love that heals, delivers, and nourishes.
Agape creates compassion and produces people who willingly give their lives for others. The call of God to selflessly serve mankind is powered by agape love.
The beauty is that we don't have to look for this love. We don't have to long for this love because this love desperately wants to comfort and embrace each of us. Even if you are a mess and nobody likes you, even if you don't like yourself, this love longs for you.
All we need do is receive this love. This love is God's love for you and me through the person of Jesus Christ. In His eyes, we are all worth loving. Be kind to someone today who has not been kind to you. Watch what happens.
Be Blessed [John 3:16]