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Posts Tagged ‘#agapelove’

The day of love has arrived … so says our calendar.

Flowers, chocolates, lingerie, jewellery, cards and more are purchased as declarations of our love. Dinner reservations (or home deliveries) are made, candles are lit, chilled drinks poured into stemmed glasses … all to show and celebrate love for someone close to our hearts.

I’m kinda lucky, because my special guy got me freshly fallen snow … could there be a better Valentine’s gift?

The following three verses about love are probably the most frequently quoted love verses in the Bible.

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Matthew 22:37-39
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

John 13:34-35
A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”

The first, written by Paul to the Corinth church. He is instructing the believers in this community on what is important in how to live as followers of Christ.

The second are from the lips of Jesus. He reminds us that we are first to love God, then others. It is through our love of God that we have the capacity to love each other.

The third were the words of Jesus on the night before his death … after the foot washing, after Judas left the room. These were his closest followers, who would build his church on the foundation of these words.

The thing is the word love in each and every use in these verses, is the Greek word agape.

agape is the love to die for …

more specifically,

it’s the love that would die for you

Agape love is unconditional, self-sacrificing, never-ending. It is the highest form of love, the most difficult love to give, the most innately sought. As humans, I believe we were created longing for that love … it is in our DNA to seek it … for it is how our Creator-Father loves us.

Agape love costs nothing, and everything.

It takes no time, yet all of our time.

It requires that we just be ourselves, yet, in our own strength we cannot love like that.

It is the sum total of the reason for the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus … for his Father (He) loved the world so much that he gave so that we would live (John 3:16).

Agape love is to love as does not come natural for us, as humans, for it requires that we say and do things that we do not want to … because someone else needs to receive … and their need, seen through the eyes and heart of agape love (God’s eyes and heart) trump our own.

As we declare our love for those around us, today, may our words and deeds be in line with the unconditional, self-sacrificing, never-ending love that God has modelled for us.

love, as I have loved you

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“If you want to change the behavior of a student, you must first convince them, real or perceived, that you like them”

Those were the best words of advice I ever received as an educational assistant … and I have found them to be true!

No amount of negative reinforcement, tokens, nagging, consistent messaging, interruptions, trips to the principal, calls home, withdrawal of personal attention, privileges, or possessions has had a more substantive beneficial effect in working with students than this intentional expression of unconditional appreciation for them.

Effective? … yes!
Guaranteed desired results? … no …

Since I am human, since the students are human … well, we have this ‘benefit’ of free will and we just don’t always choose to say, and do, and think rightly. So, guaranteed positive results … nope, but it’s pretty effective.

The other thing is that the advice needs an edit, because liking people is hard. Sometimes liking is even humanly impossible. So, I prefer the quote to be edited by substituting ‘like’ for ‘love’.

“If you want to change the behavior of a student, you must first convince them, real or perceived, that you love them”

Some might say, well if liking is hard, loving would be even difficult … true … and not.

When I say you need to convince someone that you love them, I don’t mean with my or our capacity to love, because that is just not enough. I mean with the love that is only present because the Spirit of God is within me.

Last week I was reading a sermon of Martin Luther King Jr., which he preached in 1957, at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, titled, Loving Your Enemies. In it he said something about this act of loving that got my attention :

Agape (love) is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of humans. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love humans, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them.

MLK Jr.

To love someone … a student, a child, a parent, a sibling, a wife, a husband, a neighbor … with the unconditional love of God is to open the door to the amazing, redemptive work of God in that relationship. It is to prepare the way for changes, for miracles.

Sometimes the miracles happen in the one to whom I am making effort to offering the love of God, but always, always the changes, the miracles happen in me. I cannot offer hate, I cannot think ill of, I cannot be disinterested in someone who I am loving through the spirit of God.

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