In my previous post, I revealed that I find myself falling short of being able to love my enemies and those I don’t like. But there is hope because God has provided us an answer to this problem of anger, bitterness, and hatred toward those we might find to be unlikable.
I want to talk more about what scripture calls agape love. Agape is used in the original written language in scripture. Our English translation for love in the bible doesn’t express the depth of the original meaning of Greek.
Agape love has a much deeper meaning. It is more than “being nice,” which is from human effort or power. We might tell our kids to “play nice.” We might put on a happy face when we are feeling angry inside and try to be nice. This is not agape love. First John 4:16 says:
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
The words “God is love” goes far deeper in meaning than what we might see on the surface. It cannot be contrived or manufactured. That’s the stuff of romance dramas, movies, or pop songs. God’s agape love doesn’t come from us but it’s a “God thing.” It originates from God alone. It is what we need from God in order to love our enemies and those we find hard to love.
In my discovery of my own short-comings, I’ve realized that I need God’s agape love working in my life everyday to be able to love the unlikable. God’s agape love is a supernatural love that’s given to us if we openly receive it from God first. John taught us that we can love others because God has poured out his own supernatural love upon us first. 1 John 4 18-21 continues saying,
The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
Personally, when I find people making it hard for me to like to like them, I need God’s agape love to make up for what I lack. I need to remind myself that God wants to shower his tender grace and mercy upon me (and you too), and pour out his love upon me (and you) to love the unlovable. All things are possible with God.