What is Love?
Valentine’s Day is associated with expressions of love. I suspect that many people have an incomplete picture of what love is. There are at least 3 major categories or levels of love. Apparently the Greek language of the New Testament used 3 different words to identify these 3 kinds which the English language lumps together under one word – love.
“Agape” love is a decision, an act of the will. It does not ask for merit in the person being loved. It simply is based on a decision to do what is best for the other person whether they deserve it or not. This is the kind of love God has for people.
“Philos” love is sometimes a duty, an action based on obligation, but more often based on kinship. It is most easily noticed in a family setting where you stick up for your brother, sister, cousin, child, or parent because you are related. It is kindness extended to someone who belongs to your group even if they sometimes irritate you. It is also known as brotherly love or the love for a friend.
“Eros” love is motivated by desire and is chiefly centered on sexual attraction. It easily degenerates into a self-centered action. In its most ugly form we see abuse and rape. In its most positive form it expresses a beautiful picture of sincere love and ensures the propagation of the species.
There is a place for all three, an important place. Unfortunately, the last definition is the most prevalent one and the first is seldom achieved by us. We have reversed the order of importance.
May your Valentine’s Day, and mine, at least show some true love.