Sunday, February 17, 2008

Expressions of Love

When you mention the word “love” what’s the first thing that comes into your mind? I believe that it all depends on what perspective you are looking at. In 1976, researcher John Lee conducted extensive interviews with people to discover what the word "love" meant to them. He learned, of course, that love means different things to different people. Lee concluded that humans think of love in six separate ways. He labeled these love forms with Greek nouns. Eros Love: Eros refers to the romantic love that has tremendous passion, physical longing, deep intensity, and intimacy. Ludas Love: Ludas is called game-playing love. It is like the love of a knight for a princess. There are playful interactions here but little intimacy or deep intensity. Storge Love: Storge exemplifies friendship-based love. There is strong companionship and shared values here but little physical intimacy. Pragma Love: Pragma, a combination of storge and ludus love, refers to practical or logical love in which someone actively searches for a partner with certain characteristics. Mania Love: Mania is a combination of eros and ludus love. It is also known as the troubled love. This love has jealousy and dependence (often called co-dependency), great intensity, some intimacy, and many psychological symptoms related to the relationship. Agape Love: Agape is also a blend of two other types of love, eros and storge. This is the love of altruism, of giving without asking anything in return, and of sacrificing oneself for one's partner. Many would consider it to be the purest form of love.

In the New Testament, God’s expression of love is “agape”. It is described in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV) Jesus Christ exemplified it when he died on the cross to manifest God’s love for humanity. It is also best illustrated in this story of a boy and his mother’s exchange of letters, “Our little boy came up to his mother in the kitchen one evening while she was fixing supper, and he handed her a piece of paper that he had been writing on. After his mom dried her hands on an apron, she read it, and this is what it said: For cutting the grass $5.00; for cleaning up my room this week $1.00; for going to the store for you $.50; baby-sitting my kid brother while you went shopping $.25; taking out the garbage $1.00; for getting a good report card $5.00; for cleaning up and raking the yard $2.00; total owed: $14.75. Well, I'll tell you, his mother looked at him standing there expectantly, and boy, could I see the memories flashing through her mind. So she picked up the pen, turned over the paper he'd written on, and this is what she wrote: for the nine months I carried you while you were growing inside me, No Charge. For all the nights that I've sat up with you, doctored and prayed for you, No Charge. For all the trying times, and all the tears that you've caused through the years, there's No Charge. When you add it all up, the cost of my love is No Charge. For all the nights that were filled with dread, and for the worries I knew were ahead, No Charge. For the toys, food, clothes, and even wiping your nose, there's No Charge, Son. And when you add it all up, the full cost of real love is No Charge. Well, friends, when our son finished reading what his mother had written, there were great big old tears in his eyes, and he looked straight up at his mother and said, "Mom, I sure do love you." And then he took the pen and in great big letters he wrote: "PAID IN FULL."

Therefore, when you feel that love is lacking in your life, always remember what God has done and I guarantee that you will feel alright. He loved us with an everlasting love without any charge except on His account. It is an immeasurable love that keeps on loving even when we don’t deserve it yet God showed it through His Son. When you want to understand God’s love for us, just look at the cross and remember that Jesus died because we are loved. As the song says, “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so...”

Let’s talk again!