John 13:34 (NKJV) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
We are to love others with God’s kind of love—Agape love, which is unconditional. Operating in Phileo love will not only lead to frustration but make us disillusioned about love as well.
Phileo love is an emotional love. It means to be a friend to another, to be fond of, or to have or show affection for an individual or object. Friendship love requires attention, and is based on the qualities in another person that you find admirable or attractive. Phileo love feeds on response, and cannot survive long without response from the other. In contrast, Phileo love gives as long as it receives and thus is a conditional love. (https://www.preceptaustin.org/love-phileo)
Most of us are used to receiving and giving Phileo love. Because it is a conditional love, we will only reciprocate it when we are being loved instead of proactively loving others unconditionally, because men are selfish and self-centred. It is tiring to love others using Phileo love because we are always expecting them to reciprocate by being kind in words and action. Unfortunately, because we live in a broken and fallen world, people will always fail and disappoint us.
Say there are two friends. Freda’s love language is doing things for others—a Phileo love language. When she learnt that Pauline was relocating to her city, she did everything to help Pauline settle quickly. On the other hand, because Pauline’s love language is buying gifts, she bought Freda a gift and dinner to thank her. When it was Freda’s turn to move house, she expected Pauline to help her with the move, but it was not Pauline’s love language, nor did she have the time. Therefore, Freda was hurt and disappointed because she had operated in Phileo love. However, even though Pauline did not help Freda, she bought her a housewarming gift instead. If Freda had gone the extra mile for Pauline with Agape love, with no expectation, all would have been well, plus she got an unexpected gift!
God commands us to love our neighbour as He has loved us. Grace is God’s unmerited favour, or Agape love, which means there is nothing you can do or say, or have not said or done, that makes God love you more or any less. He simply loves you unconditionally.
It can be very damaging emotionally when we love people with Phileo love and have high expectations for them to return it because people will always fail us, and the more we expect, the more disappointed we will be. On the other hand, if we expect nothing in return, we will not be disappointed, hurt or dejected! There are tremendous blessings to love with Agape love. It is liberating because it frees us emotionally to love without any burdens or expectations.
Sermon Series: How to love? (Part 2)
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