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Real Love-God's Way
Fist Of Fury or Palm Of Love?
Eros and Agape Love
Our world and the social environment in which we live are in a state of turmoil and unrest. Many of us wonder what happened to values and stability. The greatest ability of the human spirit is that to love regardless of economics, race or status. People value love and recognize that love will shape what is good and true. It should not be surprising to anybody that love permeates and is at the heart of our Biblical message.
Our English word love is used so broadly, that it is helpful to know different types of love in order to gain a better understanding of the New Testament's message. The New Testament was written in Greek and there are various Greek words for love.
Unlike Eros, Agape is not limited by environment and someone's perception. Agape is based upon the commitment of a decision. It is the decision to proactively seek someone's well-being. It is not a knee jerk reaction, nor just a response to how we have been treated. Agape is capable of living where there are no warm fuzzy feelings. Jesus said that we should agape, or love, our enemies. It is the very nature of Christian unselfish commitment to another's well-being regardless of how they feel about us. Luke 6:35
God IS love and is the example that we must follow to know and learn how to show and receive true (agape) love. He sent His beloved son to redeem us even though He knew we would reject Him and kill Him in a horrible manner. John 3:16
Agape love is what real passion and friendship is all about. This is when we choose to treat others in a Christ like manner and overcome the human inclinations to resort to hurtful actions. We respond instead of reacting to others. It is called the true nature of real love. This is how the world will know us, because of our difference. John 13:35
Eros is what most people mean when they say, "I'm in love." This type of love covers everything from butterflies in the belly and the “warm fuzzies” to physical passion.
There are a couple of very interesting characteristics about Eros. First, Eros is dependent upon ideal situations and circumstances. As long as a couple is enjoying a romantic situation, Eros can thrive. But, when hurtful words or actions appear, Eros simply evaporates.
Second, Eros is also dependent to each person's perception. If I perceive a dinner with candles to be romantic, Eros will thrive. However, that feeling is squashed if my dinner partner is not enjoying himself and only wants to get home to the Super Bowl. He sees the current situation to be undesirable. Eros love is strong or weak therefore based on perception.
Eros cannot provide a stable basis for building a deep and meaningful relationship. It is like the parable of the house built on sand and is easily washed away. Because the other person chooses to love us or not, we cannot accept this idea of “Falling in love” as committed love. Eros or physical attraction, is exhilarating, but is not the Biblical word used for love.
Should we because of this love quest, allow ourselves to be abused? Certainly not! How should we respond to an abusive person? God’s own Word, The Holy Bible, is our manual of resource information to know what we must do in these situations.
Jesus said that our primary commandment is to love God above all else and then to love others as we love ourselves. Matthew 22: 27-38
To allow mistreatment to continue involves failing to respond with love. When we truly love another person, we desire healing and peace for them. An abusive person has none of these.
We must never strike back although that is the typical human response. God has said He will seek vengeance on behalf of His people. Our agape love will strengthen us to pray for the abuser so that he/she is convicted in the spirit and learns God’s plan for his/her life. Eternal life and whether it will be with Christ or in Hell is at stake for this abuser. Judgment will come and God cannot be a part of sin. Our failure to seek an abuser’s well being and redemption is passively accepting their damnation.
In these situations, loving effectively requires wisdom. Knowing how to help an abusive person can be challenging. An abuser must accept that God holds each of us personally responsible and abhors this type of behavior.
Seek God’s instruction and empowerment to know how to face the abuser. It is almost impossible to kneel and pray for a person who has just bruised us physically or emotionally. When the timing is right, we might ask the abuser to seek counseling or to open up to a minister and ask for help. Most people who hurt us do so out of a warped love for us. Because of that love, an abuser will sometimes humble himself to get help and overcome this broken behavior. Sometimes physical and even legal action is required. Tough love can bring about transformation and acknowledgment of an unacceptable behavior.
To continue this depth of love is extremely difficult when the other person continues to treat us badly. If you feel you do not have the ability to do this, think of a mother’s love. Some of us are mistreated even by our children who do not obey the fifth commandment. But we continue to love them more than ourselves. As mothers, we can better understand 1 Corinthians 13:4, love is patient.
We might have to leave a loved one who treats us badly. Even so, we can do it the right way in love and God’s grace. Because God is love, we are love and are required to behave as such always. If you feel you cannot so this, seek Him. He loves you the way you seek to be loved.
If you find yourself in a real life situation where you are being hurt or threatened, you are urged to immediately contact a person who can help you; police, hotline, 911 or a counselor.