There are four Greek words for love: Eros, Stergo, Philo, Agape
Eros is unsurprisingly erotic, that is sexual love
Stergo is the affection; of say a parent for a child
Philo is attraction to another person [or indeed an object or idea], i.e. ‘brotherly’ love
Agape means spiritual love
English is unusually stunted in this case, for a language usually
overly rich in words; we get stuck with the one word ‘love’ to cover
What then is agape? Jesus said ‘no greater love hath any man than to
lay down his life for his friends.’
Agape gives away from itself unconditionally; and in death there is no natural reward.
In life however God rewards unconditional love; as 3 John 2 says
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in
health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
In our relationships we might express one, or all of these ‘loves’; but
Faith calls first and foremost for agape – a love that can exist toward
our ‘neighbour’; even our enemy - without Eros, Stergo, Philo in play;
but equally as I have come to realise, by experience, that agape
necessarily enhances and validates us; that ‘true love’ is reciprocated
Eros, Stergo, Philo expressed together in harmony by and through agape.
Yet agape alone remains an end in itself; because uniquely
unreciprocated agape is misnomer – agape cannot be unreciprocated
because agape is directed through our neighbour even our enemy, not to
them, agape is loving Love; loving God.