While searching for a definition for Agape, I ran across an article from Barry Newton called “A Short Handbook on Love.” This article describes three different types of love: Eros, Philia and Agape. I liked what he stated about Agape. “Agape entails the decision to proactively seek someone’s well-being. Since it is neither a knee jerk reaction nor just a responsive feeling to how I’ve been treated, agape is capable of acting in a hostile environment where there are no warm fuzzy feelings. For example, Jesus’ teaching that we should agape our enemies is intended to show the boundless nature of the Christian commitment toward seeking another’s well-being. (Luke 6:35).”
Let’s be honest. We all like the “warm-fuzzy”, easy kind of love. It is loving the enemy which makes us stumble! In fact, wouldn’t we just as soon not think about Jesus example of loving our enemies? I would! At least for me, my “knee jerk reaction” when I have been mistreated or am hated by someone, certainly isn’t to love them!
This past year, we lived through a situation in our lives where I fully understood the word…enemies. Rumors clouded people’s judgment and dealings with our family.(Even people who have known us for year) I know God allowed this experience into my life as testing and a refining of who I am. I can’t say I “passed with flying colors” or walked through it without getting burned. In respect to what I am writing, I would be lying if I said I walked away loving my enemies.
Each minute, hour and day we get a little farther away from those experiences. Forgiveness has come on my part for some individuals. While I am still working on forgiving others. Forgiveness, but what about agape love? To state I am “committed toward seeking their well-being” would be a lie. Especially when there are still days I want my “enemies” to have to encounter the persecution, mistrust and lose my family has experience.
Then I start wondering…..how did Jesus do it? He died on the cross for his enemies and I can’t even work through my hard feelings and start loving my enemies enough to “seek their well-being!”
The answer to how Jesus did it, how he had agape for his enemies. He did it through His relationship with His Father. Jesus knew God in a way I don’t and perhaps won’t ever know Him. I don’t lightly pass by these words just typed. In fact, as I am writing these words it makes me hungry and thirst for more of Him.
I believe once I reach a state of being able to have agape love for my enemies, I will reach a level of spiritual maturity God is calling me to. Friends, this is all part of my second journey. Perhaps it is a part of yours as well.
As I posted two days ago, I am finally “getting it.” At long last, realizing how much my Abba Father loves me. Unconditionally love me. But He isn’t leaving me there. He is calling me to agape others (even my enemies) like He and His son agape me!