Read: John 13:34
Reflect: I always find it helpful to define the subject matter. In this case, love.
There are four types of love mentioned in the Bible.
- Phileo—Brotherly love, love based on common interests.
- Eros—Love that is self-gratifying, based on what is important to self.
- Storge—Love that refers to the kind of love that occurs naturally between family members, ex. Mother and child.
- Agape—This is the love that God is—super natural love.
God says, “A new command I give to you.” So what is new about God telling us to love this time? It is not the first time God has mentioned love. For instance, in the Bible, love appears and is mentioned in Leviticus, Psalms, and many other books before the book of JohnThe love described in John 13:34 is founded on a new relationship to Christ. God seems to be saying, as He has loved us, we must give back to others, of course, to a lesser extent than the capabilities of God.
I often think about a year I spent working for a non-profit organization in the 1980’s. The job involved working with adults who had mental and physical disabilities. Often by the end of the day, love could be in short supply. Once after a particular difficult day, the project director shared with me what I believe to be a truth about love: Beautiful people are easy to love but beautiful has nothing to with how one might look, and everything to do with our inner self. Some lessons about love learned on that job are patience and kindness. I am still learning everyday to appreciate fully those I share God’s world with. I am thankful God has overcome my evil with his goodness.
Pray: Help me to be a refuge for those around me when the world outside is harsh and cold. May my heart be a place of acceptance and warmth. Help my heart beat with love for you and others. Amen