By Andrew Froemming
“Love one another in the same way I love you, you love one another.” John 13:34
This week I had several conversations with people about the word love, so I decided to research the topic. I know that we often tend to use the word love to mean different things but it had never really occurred to me that there are different kinds of love. In C.S. Lewis’ book The Four Loves, I read that we can express four different kinds of love: storge (affection), philia (friendship), eros (romance) and agape (unconditional love).
Jesus tells us a story in Luke 15 of a father and two sons—and unconditional love. The youngest son ask his father for his portion now of his father’s wealth that he should get when his father died. After receiving his inheritance he skips town and goes to a different country. There he makes friends that love living the high-roller life-style his wealth affords them. Soon the money dries up for this young man, and his “friends” leave him. Left with nothing the son is forced to work for a farmer. Because there was a famine in the country not even his work could keep him from going hungry. One day he thought, “I have hit rock bottom. If I stay here I will die from hunger. But if I go back to my dad’s place
I could ask to work as a servant on his farm. I know I don’t deserve to have any favors after the disgrace I put our family through but as a servant at least I will have food to eat.” So the son headed home. While the son was still a long way off his Father saw him and ran to him, hugged him and kissed him. He ordered that the finest clothes in the house be brought for his son and a party to be thrown in his honor.
Jesus told this story so that we would know how he sees us. We are like that son: we have often treated God as if God were dead. Despite such disrespect, God spends His days searching the horizon waiting to see a glimpse of me. When He does, God will run to us and tells His secretary to get the Gucci and Chanel that He had made for me in my size and God will call the event planners because I came home.
Each and every day God offers unconditional love to the world—and to you. God has laid His cards on the table. He sent His son to the world to pay the bill for all the damage that we have done. This was a death sentence for Jesus: He died so that we could receive the free gift of salvation. The Bible challenges us with these questions: What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us (Romans 8:31). If God is who God says He is then no one can be against us. With our struggle already won we are called to love each other as God loved us. What a joyful task! This next week, let’s live in victory and share God’s love with someone.