He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”
Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. John 21:17
I pray that you will understand the words of Jesus, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Ask yourself “How has he loved me? Do I really love others in the same way?”
Love cannot be forced, but it is a decision. Love also looks like something. Do you love God, no matter what!?
In the scripture above Jesus asked Peter, if he loves him three times. The first 2 times Jesus asked: Peter, do you love me unconditionally? While Peter responded both times, saying yes Lord, I love you like my best friend and brother. The 3rd time Jesus asked: Peter, do you love me like your best friend, like your brother? And Peter said to Him, Lord, you know my heart and you know that I love you. The Lord differentiated between Agape and Phileo, because He wants us to know that there are different ways to love.
In Romans 12:10, Paul tells the congregation to be devoted to one another in love. He uses the word philostorgos: which is a combination of the words, Phileo and Storge. Phileo is like a relationship between best friends, and is characterized by loyalty, companionship (spending time together) and closeness (sharing thoughts, things and emotions). For example, the bible says that Jonathan and David were best friends, and loved each other as they loved themselves. (1 Samuel 18:1-3). Storge is the type of love shared in a family construct, between parent and child, and siblings, or spouses. Storge type of love highlights loyalty, protection and care for someone else. Philostorgos speaks of being fond of someone, like family. In other words, the Lord expects us to share in a natural and easygoing affection for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We are to love everyone unconditionally even if there is no desire in us to love them. There are some people whose personalities clash with ours, who hurt us, treat us bad and even those who hate or envy us for whatever reason… but the Lord expects us to love them too! Agape love begins with seeing people through God’s eyes: love your enemies! God is waiting for you to pray so that He can give you the grace to love them!
We are only able to love others, when we ourselves have received the love of God. Paul describes this type of love in 1 Corinthians 13:
Love endures with patience and serenity,
love is kind and thoughtful, is not jealous or envious;
love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant.
It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured.
It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices when the truth prevails.
Love bears all things, regardless of what comes,
believes all things, looking for the best in each one,
hopes all things, remaining steadfast during difficult times,
endures all things, without weakening or fading.
Love never fails nor ends.
God does not simply love us; He is LOVE! Agape love is unconditional, selfless and sacrificial. This love says I love you no matter what: I love you despite of: I may not approve of your behavior but I love you. This type of love is a decision, so the Lord expects us to choose to love others. Our God has made a decision to love us, He called us! He is faithful even when are unfaithful. He does not throw our mistakes in our face, He forgives us and is not easily angered. He is not rude, and His love never gives up on us.
Father God, Love and wisdom today I ask you to teach us how to love. I ask you to give us unconditional love, even for those people whom are hard to love. I ask you to teach us that love is a decision, and that it looks like something. May each of our brothers and sisters receive your awesome love, and be transformed by it. In Jesus name, Amen.