My six year old grandson informed me last Friday that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wants us to conquer hate with love. His teachers must be doing a great job, because that is the first time he has come home to proclaim something so profound. Teachers have a tough job (spoken from experience). Thank you, teachers.
I want my grandsons to also know about all the different kinds of love that our society, including our educational system, does not do a good job of teaching young people. Our language does not even have words for the different kinds of love. Not so in the Greek language. They have four words that mean ‘love’:
- Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē) means “love: esp. brotherly love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God.” Agape is used in the biblical passage known as the “love chapter,” 1 Corinthians 13, and is described there and throughout the New Testament as brotherly love, affection, good will, love, and benevolence. Whether the love given is returned or not, the person continues to love (even without any self-benefit). Agape is also used in ancient texts to denote feelings for one’s children and the feelings for a spouse, and it was also used to refer to a love feast. It can also be described as the feeling of being content or holding one in high regard. Agape is used by Christians to express the unconditional love of God for his children. This type of love was further explained by Thomas Aquinas as “to will the good of another.”
- Éros (ἔρως érōs) means “love, mostly of the sexual passion.” The Modern Greek word “erotas” means “intimate love.” It can also apply to dating relationships as well as marriage. Plato refined his own definition: Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Plato does not talk of physical attraction as a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, “without physical attraction.” In the Symposium, the most famous ancient work on the subject, Plato has Socrates argue that eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth, the ideal “Form” of youthful beauty that leads us humans to feel erotic desire – thus suggesting that even that sensually based love aspires to the non-corporeal, spiritual plane of existence; that is, finding its truth, just like finding any truth, leads to transcendence. Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth through the means oferos.
- Philia (φιλία philía) means “affectionate regard, friendship,” usually “between equals.” It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. In his best-known work on ethics, Nicomachean Ethics, philia is expressed variously as loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. Furthermore, in the same text philos denotes a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers.
- Storge (στοργή storgē) means “love, affection” and “especially of parents and children” It is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring. Rarely used in ancient works, and then almost exclusively as a descriptor of relationships within the family. It is also known to express mere acceptance or putting up with situations, as in “loving” the tyrant. (from Wikipedia)
I strive to love everyone (agape love), no matter what. However, I do not always love what they say or do. Sometimes, to truly love someone means telling them that their behavior is unacceptable, because if they continue that behavior it will lead to their destruction or some other unfavorable outcome. I define unacceptable behavior as behavior that is against the law, and/or against God’s laws. That is where tough love comes into play. To truly love means to do the hard thing, the uncomfortable thing, and draw the line in the sand. If the beloved chooses to cross the line, then the beloved must suffer the consequences, whatever those have been determined to be. For his or her ultimate good and the good of others.
We had this discussion in Sunday School class once. We studied and found that we cannot judge one’s eternal salvation (whether or not they are going to heaven or hell). Only God can do that. But we can and should judge the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…etc.), or the lack of it (…. being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,….etc.)
We all make choices. Our life is comprised of our choices. I love that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted his children to be judged by their character, their actions, their choices.
Work has begun on the interior of the health club and some of the furnishings are already in place upstairs, since the upstairs will be comprised of offices and will not undergo remodeling. A storage unit for the Wellness Maps is being delivered tomorrow. It is a innovative system used primarily by attorneys, and should prove to be a low stress and efficient way to manage the member’s Wellness Maps. It will be kept in the RN Wellness Consultant’s office downstairs on the ground floor.
May you all have a love-filled week!
Written By DG Gridley
January 19, 2015 was originally published @ Aging With Grace, Aging In Place– » DG’s Weekly Blog and has been syndicated with permission.