As believers we are told to show true agape love. Turn the other cheek, smile, pray and love unconditionally. But what do you do when love is never returned? You go out of your way to show love and not once is it reciprocated.
When I gave my life to Christ I was supposed to surrender my ways for his ways. The one area I did not understand was how to show agape love. In my mind, I was like, “Ok, they don’t like me, cool – one less person to deal with.” But that was not agape love. We are to love when we know they can’t stand us. Speak when they don’t speak and smile when they roll their eyes. Back then I wrestled with this; I really, really wrestled with this area. It did not make sense to me.
C. S. Lewis describes agape in his book The Four Loves, as the highest level of love known to humanity—a selfless love, a love that was passionately committed to the well-being of the other.
That means it has nothing to do with ourselves or our feelings. (Ouch!)
The more I studied and started to build a relationship with God, the more I began to grow in this area.
At one point I thought I would never be able to love someone that did nothing to deserve my love. In fact they did everything in their power to tear me down and break my spirit. How do you love someone that did everything in their power to hurt you? I struggled with this daily but the word said that I must love as Christ loved and that love covers a multitude of faults.
When I began to study I Corinthians 13 the Lord showed me what love really was and I was missing the mark big time. But I was in flesh and everything in the natural told me that you love when love is returned. If they don’t love you, don’t love them. But that is how the world loves and that was part of my “old” man. Now that my mind was renewed and I was a new creature, my character had to change.
To say you love someone is to love despite what they do or don’t do. To love like Christ loved. That is true, unconditional agape love. When Nicole started to look at the person as Christ did and that he loved me in spite of me, it was much easier to love. Because I was a mess (and sometimes still a mess) and he continues to love me in spite of me.
The next time you have a hard time loving when love is not returned, think about how much God loves us. Think about Calvary and the Cross. That, my friend, is true agape love.