“A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; a feeling of warm personal
attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend,” reads the dictionary definition of a
word often overused in our culture today—love. Media blasts us with a myriad of different
definitions of love, whether through movies, shows, music, Instagram, and many more
influences in our culture. Oftentimes people describe love as a feeling, an emotional high they
get from being with a certain person, place or thing. Others speak of love as a type of healing or
personal commitment to something or someone. With such ambiguous definitions, it’s no wonder
that many people, young and old alike, have confusion about what love really is.
The ancient Greeks had numerous words for love that helped clarify its meaning—agape,
eros, storge, and philia, to name only a few. Philia refers to the playful love of friendship; eros, to
the love of the body or pleasure; storge, the love of a parent to their child; and agape, the deep,
unchanging love of the soul. Many people throughout history have looked to find their
satisfaction in the first three definitions of love, seeking endlessly to find resting peace and joy in
the feeling they get for others or the highs brought by certain things in life. While using these
things to satisfy our own hearts, longings, and desires, our focus on what love truly should be can fade away. Occurrences in life such as sex, friendship, and the relationship of a parent and their
child—none of which are inherently bad in the correct context—can only fulfill our human
hearts to a certain degree.
That’s why we need a Savior.
Agape love is the richest, deepest love imaginable, and the only true way it can be
discovered is through God’s incredible love for His children. The truest form of sacrificial,
totally selfless love for the soul is found in one of the most important events in history—the
dying of Jesus on the cross. He sacrificed everything—His life, aspects of His Godhood, His
comfort—to save the sinful, undeserving human race. Using the concept of pure agape love, He
gave everything for His fallen creation.
With that example in mind, we can show that kind of love to others no matter the context
or situation. Whether it be to friends, family, romantic connections, or even strangers on the
street, using that original example of God’s love towards us can completely reshape our view of
love and the world. What was before a way to serve ourselves and better our own lives becomes
a way to bless others through our presence and actions. What was once an opportunity to find
validation through physical encounters or intellectual discussions now transforms into a way to
shine the light of the gospel to a world that is, at its core, clueless about what love really means.
The dictionary, while describing the surface of love, doesn’t fully cover what agape
love—that unconditional, sacrificial love of the gospel—even begins to describe. The human
mind itself cannot fully comprehend the amount of constant, daily self-sacrifice that comes with
agape love. However, through Christ’s example on the cross and in his life, we can begin to
understand the gospel and spread it to those around us, fully empowered by Christ’s loving
Rachel MacDonald (17) is on staff at CLM/TPS Chapel and a senior at TPS