A person may say, “I love my old car, “I love Cinnabons”, “I love cage-match wrestling”, “I love God”, “I love these new jeans” and “I love you and you love me, so we should get married.” What is going on here? What do we really mean when we say, “I love you”? More importantly, what does your boyfriend or girlfriend or your spouse mean when he or she says, “I love you”? Second only to “awesome”, “love” may be the single most watered-down word in the English language.
The truth is, we tend to “love” things and each other with a “poser love” that just doesn’t get the job done. This “love” isn’t really love at all but its seems to be better than nothing. Who wants to live with “better than nothing”? We only get one shot at life here on earth, maybe we should figure the “love thing” out. I think God and maybe Forrest Gump have the love thing figured out. The simple-minded Forrest Gump said, “I am not a smart man Jenny, but I know what love is”. Maybe he did. The Gump love looks a lot like 1 Corinthians 13.
Loving with the Wrong Love?
We typically “love” others with what the bible calls an eros love. If you look real close at eros love, like you would a counterfeit bill, you will see strings and conditions attached and right next to it you will see a scorecard in permanent ink. Eros is “love” that is only human in origin, is often flawed or incomplete. Eros love leans more towards “I want, I need, I desire and I deserve”. Eros love reaches up to pull others down so they can basically meet our personal needs. Eros love sounds more like, “I, me, my and mine” and is concerned with others second. Eros love is what many long for because it temporarily fills voids in their lives. Eros love is an attempt to solve the human dilemma with something that sounds and feels good but will not satisfy in the long run. If you have felt used in a relationship, you felt eros love. We shouldn’t count on people to give us what they do not have.
Many marry with an eros love only to later realize that it isn’t strong enough to keep the vows. An eros love won’t hold up when the storms come. Eros isn’t supposed to keep a couple together and it doesn’t. Most divorces take place because of a high presence of eros love. We say, “I love you” and that is supposed to be enough. We cannot ultimately succeed in relationships with a love that does not originate in Christ. We may want a DIY love but it falls short. Sorry. There is no genuine lasting “do it yourself love”.
Getting the “Love Thing” Right
There is another love that we are each called to enjoy. Nobody seemed to be aware of it until Jesus started strategically throwing the word around. Agape love reaches out and pulls others in. Agape love reaches down and pulls others up. Agape loves the unlovable and the and even the annoying while refraining from keeping score of people’s imperfections. Eros love takes and uses; Agape love gives and builds up. Eros keeps score and agape uses an eraser. Eros eventually becomes bitter. Agape harbors no resentment. Agape love is sacrificial, selfless, patient and kind and is without envy. Eros love is erotic, erratic and possessive. Agape is romantic, sensitive and intimate.
Agape love only comes from Christ. He has buckets of agape love, in fact, he is agape love. He doesn’t just talk about agape love, he demonstrates it. I too may love Cinnabons and Bratwurst but my hope is I love you in a different way with a different love. Be encouraged to ask Christ for more agape love today. It’s funny. The more agape love we receive, the more we tend to give it away. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8).