Here we are; Valentine's Day.
So what's one more post about love?
In greek, there are four words for love. This seems much more appropriate than our one wimpy English word. Love is complex. Loving sandwiches is different than loving your spouse, for example.
Each of the Greek words has slightly different connotations and meanings.
Eros: passionate love (the boom-chika-bow-wow type)
Storge: familial love
Agape: sacrificial love
Although Valentine's Day is more about Eros, I want to talk about Agape love. This is the type of love Jesus expressed for us, and the type he wants us to express for each other (Ephesians 5:2, "Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us,").
So what is love? Our pastor gave a sermon on this a few weeks ago. He read out a commonly used wedding verse (I used it at my wedding), but for the first time I asked myself, based on that verse, how loving am I? I was disappointed with my answer.
1 Corinthians 13
1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn't love others, I would be nothing.
3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would have gained nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud
5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever!
9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!
10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.
12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.
All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
13 Three things will last forever - faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love.
Maybe if we were spreading a little more agape love around, divorce filings wouldn't jump by 40% around Valentine's Day. Just a thought :)