Love. What is it? (Part 2)
Usually when a person says I love you to another, it can mean anything from “I like you” to “I enjoy your company”. It is not so much the word as the meaning behind the word. In the bible, we read of many occasions that the word love is used but all too often we don’t really understand what it means. The fact of the matter is that we use this word so loosely today that we have lost the true meaning of what love means. Join us as we answer the question: Love, What is it?
I am not a Greek scholar nor do I profess to be one of the English language either, but I will share some words from the Greek to better illuminate this subject.
In our text today we see that God loved us and gave us an example of how to love. He told us to love Him with all of our being then love our neighbor as ourselves. Many asked Him how can we do this and Jesus responded by telling us that we should “do unto others as we would have them do unto us”. It seems easy enough, right? Then I am reminded that I should love the drug dealer down the street that has sold street pharmaceuticals to people. Street pharmaceuticals that have the power to lead innocent souls into bondage and addictive behavior. How am I supposed to love a person that profits from the misfortune of others? Am I really told to show love and respect for a killer on death row? Let’s bring it to reality. How am I supposed to love my wife that constantly criticizes my every action? How am I supposed to love my husband that has confided in the heart of another? Am I really supposed to love those that smile in my face but talk behind my back? How can I love them?
It’s called: PHILIA Love – This type of love is considered a brotherly love, it literally has the implication of loving another the same way that you would want to be loved if you were in their shoes.
What does this word really mean? I believe that Jesus said it best when He said “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” John 13:34 KJV. I think the lesson that Jesus wanted to show us is:
- PHILIA Love Is Generous.
When Jesus said, “…That ye love one another; as I have loved you…” tells me that this type of love is giving of itself. During Christ’s earthly ministry, He gave of His time and talents to help those that had a real need. He actually spent a great deal of time helping people that had real life issues. The fact that Jesus mentioned, “that ye love one another” twice means that it should be important to us. All too often our love to others is only generous when they give back. The bible teaches that if you give to someone that can pay you back, then what reward have you to gain except a repayment. That isn’t generosity that is a non-interest loan. You will gain rewards in heaven when you generously give to those that have no mean to repay your kindness. All too often we are mirror, mirror on the wall Christians. We want to have others see what we do then get a verbal praise. I believe Jesus wants us to be an open window Christian in this area of love. Instead of seeing a self-righteous reflection we need to see the needs of others and hear the needs of others. Where do you stand in the area of generously giving to others? Do you love others as yourself when they don’t even like you personally?
- PHILIA Love Is Gracious.
This next word literally means, courteous, kind, pleasant and shows grace to another. When I hear this word, I instantly think of the Good Samaritan’s story.
Luke 10:30-37 The Good Samaritan
“And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”
This parable that Jesus spoke not only tells the condition of America but it shows the condition of the hearts of most Christians today. The priest and the Levite both are seemingly well to do people with prestige, popularity and poise. However, all of the qualities that they teach others to have are lacking in their lives. It was only a person that you wouldn’t think could help went above and beyond the call of duty to assist. Here is what I see in the Samaritan:
- He Recognized the issue – How many times do we see a need or an issue and we turn our eyes away from it in the hopes that someone else will take care of it. All too often we utter phrases like these, “That’s the Pastor’s job”, “You do too much already”, “We don’t have the money to…” “Why do you have to do it, can’t someone else?” and “Let’s pray that God provides for their needs”. In response to all of that last statement I say that God has provided for their needs by sending you! If you eye it, you should supply it! How many times do we drive by the homeless person on the street and avert our eyes or even look away? We do this because “if we make eye contact, then we feel obligated to help”. We see that the Samaritan came to where he was only after seeing his need for help. Do you see the need for help in the lives of others?
- He Responded to the issue – Seeing that someone needs help and not responding to their needs is like seeing your neighbor’s house on fire and being afraid to go warn them. I know for me personally, that seems irresponsible and cruel. I cannot speak for everyone in the world but I will say that if you allow someone with a dire need to suffer when you could have did something to help then you’re missing brotherly love in your heart. Brotherly love sees that someone is in trouble and it has a desire to fill that need, even if you will never see the investment again. Too often we treat the matter of giving to others just like we treat an investment. We will see how likely it is for us to gain a return on our capital in the shortest amount of time. If it costs us too much without a logical profit margin then we don’t even bother. I’m not saying that you have to give all your money away or answer every need to the point where you neglect your family and responsibilities but the heart to help another is precious. Where’s your heart? Better yet, where’s your response?
- He Returned to check on the man with the issue – The last part of this text indicates that he made an appointment to return. He just didn’t leave the person to fend for himself all alone and in pain. He realized that this was something that he couldn’t fix in a short period of time and he made provisions to follow up. All too often we will give someone something or pray for their needs but seldom do we follow up. Jesus told us that He would return. He tells us, many times in scripture, that He is going to return for us. I am so glad that Jesus is coming back for us.
In our quest to see the love of God we must first seek to love man. Too often we hold grudges and half-heartedly forgive those that have wronged us because of our pride. When we begin to address the needs of others let’s not look on them with a hard heart or address them in a spirit of necessity but one of compassion and cheerfulness. In tomorrow’s devotional we will speak about what makes chemistry between two people and why can’t I stop thinking about this person but can’t seem to remember another person’s name. Join us again as we address real life issues with biblical answers on Worship With Willie.