love, luv, l()v3, <3, †

Hallmark makes the world a more caring place by helping people laugh, love, heal, say thanks, reach out and make meaningful connections with others.”  While this may be true for many individuals, it may be in contradiction in terms with others.  I will explain.

Let’s take a well-known and “loved” Hallmark Holiday, Valentine’s Day (February 14th) for example, which has a much deeper meaning behind it than the above quote even remotely touches on.  Many of you would say that it touches on the “love” theme, but I would dare say that today’s meaning of “love” is so shallow that it is without meaning, along with many other words in our modern vocabulary.  Did you know that in the Greek Language, there are six different meanings for the word “love”?  Let me share each with a brief definition!

  1. Eros – a sexual passion
  2. Philia – a deep friendship
  3. Storge – a parental love
  4. Agape – a love for everyone
  5. Pragma – a longstanding love
  6. Philautia – a love of the self
  • Click here for a deeper read on each of these definitions.

Coming back to Valentine’s Day, why do we celebrate this holiday?  Which Greek word of “love” do we see fitting best?  I guess it depends on who you ask.  Let’s ask Saint Valentine himself!  Do we know the account of Valentine?  There are two main traditions that speak to who Valentine was and what he was about.  The common theme between each story was that he was about “love” and sharing it with those he came in contact with.  “Love” would ultimately be his mortal demise.  “He was arrested and imprisoned upon being caught marrying Christian couples and otherwise aiding Christians who were at the time being persecuted by Claudius in Rome. Helping Christians at this time was considered a crime. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner – until Valentinus tried to convert the Emperor – whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stones; when that failed to kill him, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate.

Now that you have a brief explanation about Valentine, I would say that this “love” is very much so an Agape “love”.  Are we living this kind of “love” today?  Have you experienced this type of “love” or better yet, have you given this type of “love” for someone else’s benefit?  We see this “love” on the cross of Christ (John 3:16) and through the power of the resurrection of Christ (Acts 2:31).   Until we grasp the riches that Christ gives us in His Agape “love”, we will not know what “love” truly means. Let’s start from God’s Word and living what is shown in 1 John 3:16, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”  May God richly bless you for being selfless in a selfish world and on the day when you stand before the throne of Christ, may you hear Him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” Matthew 25:21  Also remember, Christ’s Agape for you will not end when things get rough or when you fail to live up to His perfect standard.  When you believe through faith in what He has perfectly accomplished, you are justified.  When you understand how much He gave up to fulfill the will of God and believe in faith, it is in that moment when you experience His Agape “love”.

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