By Larry Pasley
One day I felt the need to see a doctor. After checking me over, he asked to see my wife, Betty, in the next room. My ear happened to be next to the wall, so I heard some of the conversation. The doctor told Betty I needed a change of pace to insure that I would continue to live. He told her to have me quit work and never let me do any chores around the house -- to do everything possible for me and keep me comfortable and happy and to do everything he asked me to do. Naturally, on the way home I asked Betty what the doctor had said -- her reply, "You’re going to die."
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>Sometimes we are unwilling to do for others what they need most.
We are limited in our language for “love.” We say we love ice cream, we love our dog, we love our spouse, we love God, etc. Surely, we don’t have the same feelings for each of those.
The Greek was not so limited. It had four different words for “love.” One of those words was Agapao. That word carries with it the idea of seeking the highest good for the one loved. We refer to this sometimes as Godly love because God’s love seeks what is best for us.
The scriptures tell us that as Christians, this is the kind of love we need to have for others. It is that word that is used when we are told to love our brethren, our fellow Christians. 1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
It is agapao that is used when we are told to love God and our neighbor. Mark 12:29-31 Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. 30 And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
It is agapao that is used when we are told to love our enemies. Luke 6:35-36 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
It is that kind of love that makes Christianity so radically different from many religions. We don’t take vengeance on our enemies, we turn them into friends by loving them with a Godly love that is concerned about what is best for them. We want them to be saved also.
May we always strive to be lovingly concerned about the well-being of all those around us, even our enemies.
- Larry Pasley serves as a minister with the Jackson Street Church of Christ in Alexandria, LA. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at http://www.JacksonStAlex.com