Our scripture lesson this week is 1 Peter 1:22-2:3. Its emphasis is why and how we are to love one another. I am reminded of what Jesus taught us in chapter 13 verses 34-35 in the gospel according to John “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
One of the true marks of being a Christ follower is our love of one another and that includes those who are our enemies (Matthew 5:44). Unfortunately in our day love is define by the culture and not by God, who, by His very nature is love (1 John 4:8). The Greek language gives us different words that express love. Eros, speaks of sexual desires and passions. Phileo is a mutualistic love; I love you because you love me. The other word for love is agape, used in 1 John. This kind of love is committed to a person’s well being regardless of their attitudes and actions. It always seeks to do good, it is a selfless and serving love. It is willing to bless when you want to curse. You see if God was eros, He would possess us. If God were phileo He would have given up on us the moment we give up on Him. But God is agape; He is eternally committed to our well being regardless of our attitudes and reaction to Him.
Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love (agape) for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That kind of love goes beyond how I am feeling. I can feel unhappy and disappointed with you but continue to love you despite how I am feeling. Agape love is a decision, a deliberate act of the will, to bless others, to do good toward others, to always have the well-being of others in what we say and do. It’s not always about me getting what’s best for me; it’s about me giving what’s best for you, even if it is a word of caution and rebuke. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”