Part 2: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2
One important lesson of love is illustrated by Christ’s story of the Good Samaritan. Here, a man from an ethnic group often despised by the Jews, is the only one in the story to exhibit agape. He alone stops to help an injured man who, as implied by the story, is Jewish. Yet, the Samaritan gives of his time, his effort, his possessions, and his money to help this Jewish man who is ethnically and religiously different. He demonstrates agape, unlike the “religious” people who simply passed by, offering no aid to the injured man.
You see, agape, rightly understood and applied, is revolutionary. It is never self-centered, but is self-sacrificing. It always desires what is best for the other person and works to make that best a reality. It is patient, kind, and keeps no record of past wrongs. Agape is not so much about how we feel but about what we do. It is a love that is to be extended not only to our friends but to our enemies, to the unlovely as well as the lovely, to the worthy and the unworthy. Agape always protects the beloved and always perseveres, even when love is not returned. Agape is unfailing and unending. It is best illustrated in the life of Christ who died for us.
In a world often fractured by physical violence and verbal attacks, divisive hate and destructive behavior, we, as Christians, should be a healing balm. Do you want to change the world?? All you need is love (agape); all you need is love; all you need is love, love; love is all you need.