He told us recently how one bloke under his tuition had made three wooden hearts, and he asked Mark to help him write three letters on the hearts, the letters ‘S’, ‘I’ and ‘N’. “Why sin?” asked Mark, and he explained that that’s what love had always been to him, he’d never known unselfish love from anyone. That’s tragic.
Sin = Selfishness
Love = Giving, so is therefore the opposite of sin.
When love and sin, two polar opposites, get twisted together the human heart is muddied and maimed, not only in conscience but also in hope, security and the openness to love. No wonder he was in prison if life had taught him the lie that love = sin.
God = love
Sin = whatever separates us from God
So. What does God say about it all? In the language of The Good Book there’s three words for love, none of which begin with S, I or N.
Éros – intimate physical love, primarily of the body. Eros says “I want”.
Philia – affectionate friendship and companionship, showing loyalty to friends, family and community. Of the soul. Philia says “Let’s share”.
Agápe – God’s love, a deeper, unconditional, sacrificial love, primarily of the spirit. Agápe gives.
Love is essentially unselfish and good, but I see this as a scale of greatness, where agápe is the greatest and most selfless of these three loves, it’s the pinnacle of goodness.
When God created all these forms of love they were perfect. However love gets twisted when it becomes selfish, when Eros rules over Philia, and Philia rules over Agápe.
God started to straighten out the twist in the universe that selfishness (sin) had wrought when he gave Himself sacrificially, unconditionally, deeply in Jesus’ sacrificial death.
As we’ve explored the love triplet here’s the threefold strategy that God’s given us to spread His justice, to end the reign of selfishness:
The Great Commandment
God = Love but Love ≠ God. When The Beatles sang ‘All you need is love’ they made love their god in all it’s selfish forms. God’s love is not selfish, so put Him first and all else will be made right.
The New Commandment
This is the new society, the agápe society of Jesus, where each person builds others up in love.
The Great Commission
Spread the love.
So there you go. That wasn’t much of a personal diary entry, but it’s what I’ve been pondering over the last few weeks.