Minister's Message

Agape Love

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

 

     Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! It is remarkable how we most often use the word “love” to describe an emotional feeling. When we use the expressions like “falling in love,” “falling out of love” or “I don’t love him anymore,” we are limiting the meaning of love to the emotions which are stirred within us. The Greek language had many words to describe the many facets of love. Our failure to understand one of these words, the Greek word agape, keeps us from properly dealing with others and robs us of one of the great blessings of Christianity.

 

     Most people think of love as an emotion, so when we read Jesus’ words about loving your enemies, we struggle to obey him. How can you “love” those who wrong you? Does God really expect me to “love” them?  The answer is found in realizing that when Jesus talked about love (agape) He was not talking about the emotional response we had toward them, but about how we treated them. Agape love has far more to do with how we treat others than how we emotionally respond to them.

     Paul discusses this in the closing verses of Romans chapter twelve. Christians were soon to be the objects of scorn, and Nero was about to blame the Christians for burning Rome. In addition to this persecution from the pagans, the Christians had been and were the focus of abuse and persecution from the Jews. What reaction did God expect from the citizens of His kingdom?

     It was not a reaction of retaliation. The clearest direction can be summed up in Paul’s words. “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). The gravest danger we face is that when others treat us in ungodly ways, we feel we have a right to respond and repay them. Someone once said, “It is never right to do wrong,” and these words capture the apostle’s thought. Enemies are under the eternal judgment of God. Why should we ever join them in doing wrong?

     Our response? What does agap love demand of us? Not an emotional response, but simply to treat them with kindness to respond as Jesus did toward His enemies. But how do I deal with the anger? I turn it over to God. Paul reminded them that vengeance is God’s, and He will always repay (Romans 12:19).  We win when we overcome evil with good!

     May our Heavenly Father continue to bless us in our spiritual growth and as a part of His family, the church.  And remember that the Mission and Vision statement of the University Church of Christ is to be “a New Testament church seeking to evangelize, starting with the central core of Greater Cleveland. We will use our unique gifts and opportunities to engage with the community to bring souls to Jesus, develop and equip them for a 21st century ministry.” Until next week, remember that God loves you, Jesus died for you, I love you and I am your servant for Jesus’ sake!

             Yours because of Calvary,

   Terrance R. McClain, PhD

   Minister

 

 

 
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