National Chaplain's Message
Robert Allen Vick
National Chaplain of The American Legion
There are at least three kinds of love in the scriptures.
Eros – romantic love. Ephesians 5:33 “Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself …” This is an instinctual love; it has reciprocal quotient. You fall in love with someone and you wish for love to be returned.
Phileo – brotherly, friendly. John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This is also an instinctual type of love. You love your brother and you desire the love be returned. This is the reciprocal need.
Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you.”
Agape – pure love with no expected reward. 1 John 4:16 “And we have known and believed the love that God hath for us. God is love; and He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and Go in Him.”
Romans 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor heighth nor depth nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God.”
Agape … the Lord commanded that we love. You cannot command erotic or phileo love because there is no emotion involved. You cannot command emotion. Agape love is an act of the will.
Loving someone not loveable. The only way we can love our enemies, or those who spitefully use us, is to choose to love them.
We are commanded to love them, not necessarily approve of their actions.
We are not responsible for the actions of someone else, only our own actions and feelings.
So, in the final analysis, what is love?
Tina Turner said in a song “it was a second hand emotion.” She also asked, “What is love?”
It is not only an emotion, nor is it only of our own volition. It is much more.
John 16, “God is love.” Not God loves, will love or can love. It says God is love!
If this is true, and I believe it is, then it is more than we ever imagined.
It is God. It is not a feeling, not a choice, not a human ability. It is a person, not me.
So now I understand how God can say to me “Love your enemy and those who use you spitefully.” In myself I cannot do that, but He can do it through me.
God bless you all.