Celebrating Love Without Limits
“No man is an Island, entire of itself” ~ John Donne
With world population well over six billion, it seems strange to think that anyone could be lonely. The Internet, cell phones, pagers and wireless devices are everywhere, but in this midst of all of this community, many of us still find ourselves alone. Our lives are crowded with people when what we crave is intimacy – the certain knowledge that someone is familiar with us, that someone knows who we are and cares about what happens to us.
Dr. Dean Ornish, a leading author on stress-management, sees loneliness as a legitimate threat to human health. He has been quoted as saying, “the real epidemic isn’t physical heart disease. It’ s spiritual heart disease – loneliness and isolation.”1 On the Internet this sense of isolation is profound. We can talk to people around the world, but we’re still sitting in front of a screen alone.
A need to belong
Loneliness, at its core, is a feeling of disconnection, a feeling that nobody loves us. All of us want to be loved. In the English language, we have only one word for this complex emotion. It is applied in so many places that we often avoid using the word for fear that we will be misunderstood. The Greeks, though, had a way to express the fact that we love different people in different ways.
Four definitions of love
They defined love in four categories, with a different word for each:
- Storge is familial love. It is a strong bond of affection between people in a family unit.
- Eros is romantic love – sweaty palms and butterflies in the stomach. This is a possessive and physical love.
- Phileo is brotherly love, for which the American city of Philadelphia is named. This is the love we feel, or should feel, for our fellow man. It is empathy — the ability to put ourselves ‘in another man’s shoes.’ It is appreciation, the acknowledgment of the value of the person or thing we have affection for.
- Agape is pure love, selfless love. Love with no thought of personal gain, a conscious decision to give of yourself to another purely because you want them to be happy. We tend to think of love as a give and take. But agape is love without any thought of reward or benefit. Agape love is what Easter is all about.
Agape love in action
Two thousand years ago, a thirty-three- year-old Jewish carpenter was nailed to a wooden cross and left to die – crucified. His crime was unclear, yet his enemies were legion. Even his own people demanded his execution. Quietly, without complaint, he walked to the place of his death and accepted the pain and degradation of his punishment.
Why? Agape love – love without limits.
Jesus died to bring forgiveness for the sins of us all. His sacrifice, the truest accomplishment of agape love, paid the price for us and prepared the way for us to know God. This love is what we are celebrating on Easter – March 31st. Good Friday commemorates the day that Jesus was nailed to a cross and died, and Easter Sunday, three days later, commemorates the day he rose again.
Jesus loves us not because of what we are or what we can do for Him, but just because He does. He gave everything for us, so that we can be free from the hurts we carry and the mistakes we’ve made. His death guarantees forgiveness. His resurrection guarantees eternity. The answer to loneliness is a love that will truly last, an agape love. This Easter season let all of the symbols of new life – the eggs, the bunnies, the budding branches, the lambs – all remind you of the new life Jesus offers. Jesus is the permanent solution to loneliness. You can learn more about him at Journey of Joy.
Living with hope
If you are looking for peace, there is a way to balance your life. No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience perfect grace through a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.
Is this the life for you?
If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.