Daily Word of Grace # 206 (December 30, 2020)
In his brilliant 1960 book The Four Loves the incomparable C. S. Lewis describes in detail four different Greek words for love: storge (affection), philia (friendship), eros (romantic love), and agape (charity). The Greek word translated “love” most frequently in the New Testament is agape (charity). Agape love is self-sacrificial, completely focused on other people. And as Lewis writes, agape love is also vulnerable: “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one…Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable” (121). Every one of us has experienced the vulnerability of loving someone else with agape love, and therefore experienced the wound of heartbreak—and yet we love anyway. God’s love for the world and for you is the most vulnerable of all, a love so unconditional that it led to Jesus dying for love of you in the most vulnerable way imaginable on the cross. That is what agape love looks like, which is why the one disciple who stood at the foot of the cross, John, wrote, “We know love by this, that Jesus laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another” (1 John 3:16).
Love and Prayers,