Love: A strong positive emotion of regard and affection.
Love is an interesting word isn’t it? I mean the word “love” is used for so many things these days. For example; “I love chocolate cake!” I mean I REALLY love it! Have you ever met someone that you didn’t know that well, but maybe they were really funny and as you spoke about them you said, “Man…I love that guy!”? We love people, TV shows & music. We love certain types of cars, places that we go and things that we do. So the word “love” in and of its self isn’t always necessarily used to represent deep and meaningful things.
While I am quite guilty of using the word love in this manner, it wasn’t until a short while back that I really thought about it. About how by using the word love to describe things that were, (for all intents and purposes), “trivial” in my life, I was perhaps taking away from what love really is. So I got to looking into it. I heard a speaker many years ago get up to speak at a 12-step meeting; she introduced herself and then said something I had never heard before. She said, “I am the beloved of God.” I have to say that although I had no idea exactly what she meant by that, I REALLY liked it!. It just sounded … “special”. About a year ago I began to research this very topic of “Love”, being “Loved” and being the “Beloved”; what I found was quite profound for myself and I hope may perhaps be the same for someone else reading this.
The Greek had four words for love and they are as follows;
Now Agape love is what really caught my eye. Its definition was quite long and required more than just a casual “read through”. (see below)
Love that loves without changing. Self giving w/out expecting re-payment. So great it can be given to the unlovable or unappealing. It loves even when rejected. It loves because it wants to. Agape love has little to do with emotion, but has much to do with self denial for the sake of another.
I have found & experienced Agape love in only a few instances; I experienced it with God, within the Fellowship, have received it from my parents, and experienced it towards the children in my life & towards other people in my life. You know for me, my first really personal concept of God came through my step son at that time. I thought, “Why do we have kids?” I came to believe that it was the one physical way for me to experience even a glimpse, of how God views me. I mean, is there really anything your child could do to actually make you “love” them more than you already do? Could they REALLY do anything that would cause you to “love” them less? Of course not! You love them because they are yours! Sure…they can make you proud or even disappointed…but the love simply is what it is…Agape.
So we know what the definition of love is & the various ways in which we love. But what about being “Loved”…just how do we feel loved? Well, we feel loved by what we see, what we hear and how we are treated. If I’m confiding in someone & while doing this they are TOTALLY blowing me off…I’m not going to feel very loved. I would most likely be feeling rather insignificant at that moment. But let’s say that this person is TOTALLY listening, sharing with me, encouraging me & supporting me…I am going feel really different – I am going to feel loved.
But then we have that word…BELOVED.
~ To be dearly loved, most treasured, adored, cherished. (A deep level of intimacy) ~
When I first read that I thought, “You know, there are people in my life who are TRULY my beloved and there is NOTHING that I would not do for them.” But then I looked at it,(remembering what that speaker had said), “I am the beloved of God”. Such an easy idea that for me was SO HARD to grasp! My heart leapt as I read those words again, realizing that “I” am God’s beloved. Through all my acts of self-centeredness & selfishness, I was dearly loved…through my many acts of defiance & rebellion, I was most treasured…through my collapse into self destruction, I was adored… and through my brokenness, I was cherished. Realizing I can never “do” anything SO GOOD as to make God love me more…nor can I ever do anything SO BAD as to cause God to love me less…God loves me because I am His! I am the beloved.
Martin Luther King said this:
“Agape is understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill towards all men. Agape is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. Theologians would say that it is the love of God operating in the human heart. When you rise to love on this level, you love all men not because you like them, not because their ways appeal to you, but you love them because God loves them.”
In my own recovery, something quite interesting has happened. While I initially came to understand and see myself as God’s beloved…something happened…changed in my heart… God became my beloved as well.
I thought with us coming upon our national holiday where we celebrate love and those with whom we have it; I wanted to make this contribution to the word itself and share in the joy of that awareness that I first came to believe and have now come to know…We are God’s Beloved & are dearly loved!
©2008-2018 Rebecca Balko