John 13:34 (NIV) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Do you remember the cartoon “Love is………..” by cartoonist Kim Casali from New Zealand. These little cartoons usually showed a couple with a caption that defined an aspect of love. A few examples showed us “Love is………………….camping out under the stars together.” or “Love is…………………a feeling to treasure.” These cartoons brought smiles to millions of people over the years. They also helped us to visualize the various types of love.
The Ancient Greeks came up with four types of love. The word Eros represents the romantic love felt between a husband and wife. Agape love embodies unconditional love as shown in Christ’s death on the cross for our sins. The other two types of love are Phileo and Storge, which deal more with the love of family and friends. The bible offers over 700 verses on the subject of love. A couple of my favorite verses on love are:
Matthew 22:39 (NIV) “And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Romans 13:10 (NIV) “Loves does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Our mission trips abroad provide us with many opportunities to share this agape love with those we serve. We drilled a well in rural Kenya to provide clean water for the villagers. We fed the hungry in a homeless shelter. We built homes for orphans so they no longer lived on the streets. We strive to follow Christ’s examples of agape love in all we do.
Love can do unintentional harm if it does not follow Christ’s example when we move as His hands and feet to the world. Those we serve watch to see if our actions follow the walk of Christ. They scrutinize us to see if we fight and argue as we work together. They observe us to see if we are willing to eat with the locals. They listen to us to see if we complain about the poor conditions of the hotel or say that the place is not up to our standards. These examples of behaviors can do unintentional harm to the work of Christ. We must follow Christ’s example of Agape love as we develop friendships with the local people.
The commandment of “Love does no harm” and “Love thy Neighbor” presents difficulties to our everyday lives as well. God commands us to love. It does not say only love those that look like you or act like you, or have the same beliefs as you. Love, that is all there is to it. Love allows no judgement or no criticism. “God is Love” and as we go out to be Christ to the world we must reflect that love to EVERYONE.
1 John 4:20 says (NLT) “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
May the Lord Bless you and keep.
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”