Commanded to love (2)
The Greeks used four words to tell the difference between different types of love: 1) Storge, which means natural affection; 2) Eros, which means sexual attraction; 3) Philia, which means emotional affection or friendship; 4) Agape, which means unconditional giving, sacrificial love. When the Bible talks about God’s love for us and the type of love we should have for Him and others, the word used is always ‘agape’, a commitment to act.
It’s completely possible for us to love someone we don’t like, and God will sometimes bring hard-to-love people into our lives in order to train us to love the way He wants us to. The truth is, our lives are full of people we don’t like. We don’t like the way some people speak. We don’t like the way some behave. We don’t like what some people wear. But most of all, we tend to dislike people who don’t like us.
If you thought about it for a minute, you could probably come up with a whole list of people you don’t like. They'd probably be people you have difficulty getting along with. Everyone is hard to love sometimes – even you! – and some people are hard to love at any time. But Jesus never demanded that we have a tender fondness for everyone. He didn’t feel warmth for the Pharisees. We don’t have to like everyone – which is a relief – but we must love them. The Bible tells us to ‘walk in love’. Like physical walking, this unconditional love takes effort, moves in a certain direction, and is something we should try to do every day.
Is there someone you don’t like that you’ll be interacting with today? Try doing something for them from a place of agape love – such as making them a drink, paying them an honest and genuine compliment, or asking if they have any needs that you can pray about.
The UCB Word For You