Give Yourself to Others …

Posts Tagged ‘marriage

I don’t think there is a doctrinally-based message that draws people to Jesus.

We cannot convince people to follow him.  We cannot persuade them.  People must seek to know about Jesus.  When they seek him … then we can help them to find him.

I’m sure this has been different at other times.  And it may be different in other countries … a friend who lives in China, tells me it is different there.

But I noticed this phenomenon in the work my wife and I do with marriages.

We have noticed marriages that need help, but have learned thru experience, we cannot help until people come to us.  If we go to them, we have no credibility.  We have no stature to share anything.

But if a couple comes to us for help with their marriage, there is a lot we can say.  We can say it much more directly … more pointedly … and sometimes even more toughly.  Because the couple has come to us and asked.

The weakness of the gospel message in the United States is that everyone thinks they’ve heard it before and knows what it is.  So, until our lives provide evidence … radical evidence … of something that is out of the ordinary … until people are so moved by watching us that they come to us saying, “You are really out of the ordinary … please explain!”

Not until they come to us can we tell them about Jesus.

So, what are the words necessary for evangelism?

Hey, tell me why you’re so different from everyone else I know?

For the past several months, my wife, Linda and I have been mentoring young married couples as well as a few engaged couples. In the next few months, I expect to have the opportunity to officiate at a wedding. So, I’ve been reflecting some on marriage.

If you start with the premise that Christians should be loving others the way Jesus loved us, then how can love in marriage be something special or different?

That’s the question I’ve been contemplating.

It’s my nature to try to find the most fundamental principle — the principle upon which all others are based. And I’ve found one I think worth pursuing:

There are three different Greek words which are translated as “love” in the New Testament:

  • eros — from which the word, erotic, comes. It’s a reference to romantic love. It is a kind of love that makes you feel good.
  • phileo — which is the word at the beginning of Philadelphia (the city of brotherly love). And that’s what phileo is are reference to: the love of a brother or a friend. It’s a kind of love that is reciprocated.
  • agape — this is the word which I’ve defined as “giving yourself to others for their good, expecting or requiring nothing in return.” This is the type of love Jesus has towards us.

Agape is our obligation towards every other human being.

Phileo is not an obligation, but certainly represents our relationship with others who reciprocate our care, concern, friendship.

Eros is the special feelings we have towards certain others — something none of us understand, but most us of recognize.

The light bulb that came on as I reflected on these matters is that marriage is where all three forms of love come together in a single relationship.

I won’t pretend I’ve completely explored all the implications of this premise, but so far, I like what I think!!

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