Since Valentine’s Day is a mere five days away, I thought I’d do a post about Love.
At the risk of being too open (taking a cue from my friend Elliott), I would like to share my experiences with love:
Outside of my family and friends, the platonic kind of love, I have no experience.
I love my family to death. I love my friends to death. I tell them all the time that I love them. It’s funny being around my guy friends when I’m saying goodbye to a girl I’m really good friends with, because we always say “Bye! Love you!” I’m not sure if men can understand the bond between female friends because male friendships are so different (or so I’ve been told). I love my girl friends (not “girlfriends”) with all of my heart; “sistahs before mistahs.” You know.
So that’s my experience with love. Platonic love, at least. Did you know that there are three major kinds of Love? Yep. Eros, Philia, and Agape. I’ll explain each and how they relate to my life. (Most of this information is gleaned from “A Short Handbook on Love.”)
Never have I ever…. experienced Eros love. Eros is romantic love, physical love, the type of love someone talks about when he’s “in love.” That mushy-gushy kind of love that makes me want to gag (because I don’t have it…). This love is interesting because its existence is dependent upon the situation. “As long as a couple is enjoying a romantic situation, eros can thrive. But, as soon as hurtful words or actions appear, eros simply evaporates.” Eros can make us feel giddy and warm-and-fuzzy, but it cannot be the basis of a deep and meaningful relationship. In the Bible, eros is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9 “Now to the unmarriedand the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
This looks familiar…. Philadelphia? The City of Brotherly Love? Yes. Did you know that the official motto of Philadelphia is “Philadelphia maneto,” which means, “Let brotherly love endure”? As you can gather, Philadelphia is so named because of “philia”… and also “adelphos,” meaning “brother.” Brotherly love.
Anyway, philia is brotherly love. The kind of love between friends (platonic). I’m an expert on philia. It’s the kind of love I have with my friends and family. I’m sure you have it too… it’s a very common kind of love. Although it’s a wonderful kind of love, it is, as with eros, not very reliable. It is “held captive by the sifting sands of situation as well as by our and others’ perceptions and expectations.” We all know of friendships that have faded because of time, mistakes, harsh words, and other things. Philia is not dependable on its own. The Bible shows us an example of philia in the love (philia) between David and Jonathan. I don’t want to get into it too much here because of the differing views on the subject (some argue that their love was more eros/homosexual than philia), but you can read it in 1 Samuel 20, because I believe it to be a very good example of philia.
Thankfully, I am very familiar with agape love. Agape is unconditional, sacrificial, selfless love. It is not limited to environment or perception; it’s based upon the commitment of a decision. Agape is capable of existing in a hostile environment where there are no warm-fuzzies. Luke 6:35 says, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” This is agape. We should love (agape) our enemies as Christ loves (agape) His enemies. The Bible not only tells us to love people with agape, but it tells of how God loves us with agape. John 3:16 says, “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.” Agape. Right there. Totally selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional. Not only is agape the highest form of love (because it is not influenced by anything), it can empower eros and philia love.
Do you want to know agape love? You can. There’s a great website called EveryStudent.com where you can learn more and ask questions and get answers. Please visit it.
This post originally started with the idea that I’d talk about my lack of experience with love, but it took a different turn… and I’m glad. I’m tired of thinking about how I don’t have a boyfriend for Valentine’s Day. That type of love is only one of the three major types of love, and I’ve got two out of three down. I think I’m good for now. :]