Kimball Boyd Coburn

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Agape, Love Is the Way

The greatest word in the Greek language is Agape.  And boy, do we need it now!

I figure it’s the only way out of the mess we are in nationally and internationally.  God gave us the gift of love for the situations we are dealing with today.  There is not a political or military way out of these turbulent times.  Only love can heal the brokenness and bring peace.

Maybe we should start using the Greek word, “agape” when we talk about love.  Using the English word “love” has been misused and overused so much we forget the depth of the word.  It’s become a word that has lost its true meaning by the way we use it; I love my new car … I love playing golf … I love my favorite food or TV show, etc.  Agape will remind us of the love of God and Christ-like love.

I remember the first day in Greek class during my seminary days.  Although I had just graduated from college and was feeling full of myself, I felt a little apprehensive about the Greek class.  If you’ve heard the expression, “sounds like Greek to me”, then you understand what I was feeling.  I think the professor sensed the anxiety among her students, so she started with the Greek word for love, agape. Not only did she tell us the translation of the word, she also took time to dig deep into its meaning and engage us in a discussion.

Agape is Christ-like love, which means a self-giving love seen supremely in God’s love for the world (John 3:16) and as a mark of the Christian life (I Corinthians 13).  It is a way of thinking and living life that can change everything.  It can bring the end to war and rumors of war. It can tear down walls that divide and break chains that bind. It can stop us from hurting each other.  I heard the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel, speaking at the Claremont Colleges and he told this story:

Two men were talking and drinking together. One of them asked the other, “Do you love me?” and his friend answered, “Yes, I do.”  After a while, the man said again, “Do you love me? And his friend answered, “Yes, I love you.”  As the evening grew late the man asked one more time, “Do you love me? “  The friend said, “Yes, I do love you.”  To which the man responded, “Then why don’t you know what hurts me?”

So, as we live our daily lives, let’s remember that love is agape and agape is love.  It allows God’s Will to be done.