Agape love heart in clouds

Rock 5: Love Others With Jesus’ Love

In my practice as a Christian counselor over the past decade and a half, I’ve heard more than my share of people say something like this:  “How can I love my neighbor as myself if I don’t even love myself.”  I think this statement represents a view of the fifth component of the Great Commandment that is far from what God intended.

This Must Be Understood In Context

Three of the four gospel writers recorded this same encounter, when Jesus quoted those words from the Shammah.  In a related text, John wrote these words:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one anotherBy this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35

As Jesus has loved me, I am to love others.  That’s quite different than loving others in the manner in which I love myself.  The love I possess on my own is selfish, conditional, performance based, and fickle.  The love I possess through engaging the spirit of Christ within me carries with it the very nature and character of Jesus himself.

I Can’t Share With Others What I Don’t Possess Myself

We fool ourselves by believing we can love another person with the love of Jesus when we ourselves haven’t internalized it in our own hearts.  Human “love” comes in many forms, but not a one of them even comes close to the nature of the love Jesus has for those who place their trust and faith in Him.  Some words that attempt to describe Jesus’ love might include:







Although they did the best they could with what was available, those theologians and scholars who translated the scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into the English language could not assign words to all of the characteristics we collectively call “love” because the English language merely lacks those words.  So unfortunately, many terms were misrepresented when assigned the English word “love” when that wasn’t what they meant at all.

To be Biblically accurate, there is only one word that when translated into English is the word we know as “love.”  That Greek word is “agape,” which is a word that exclusively identifies the love that is Jesus and the love He gives each Christ-follower through His spirit.  All other characteristics we have always called “love” in our language, are not really love at all.  Yes, they are characteristics of one human being’s relationship with another.  But they are not love.

Agape love heart in cloudsOnly One Source Of Agape Love

In spite of man’s desire to be wise, powerful, and in control, this one thing we cannot and will never be able to replicate.  The agape love of Jesus Christ is not generated from within us, but rather it flows through us.  We’re not the source, but merely the conduit that transports it from Jesus to others.

What if I’m don’t have an agape relationship with Jesus?  Then how do I love others?”  Well, it’s impossible.  You can relate to others, care about others, have sex with others, spend time with others, but you can’t unconditionally and sacrificially love another human being without the agape love of Jesus flowing through you.


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