A lot of words are misunderstood by the hearer, sometimes even by the one speaking. Years ago, under the former Soviet Union, communist leaders declared their wish for peace. Sounds good, right? The only problem with that is that peace, to communists, was them being in charge over the rest of the world. The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, proved that communism’s idea of peace didn’t work-and never will.
Even more misunderstood than the word peace is, in my opinion, the word love. People talk about how they love this food, that drink, their favorite sports team. Some love cold weather, others just love hot weather. I’ve met a lot of people who love hiking, fishing, hunting, and/or cooking. And let’s not forget the love for ones pet, as in puppy love.
Then there’s love for God, family, and fellow man. All of these areas referenced with the single word of L-O-V-E. How can one truly say, however, that he/she truly loves sports more than his/her own family. Yes, I know that too many men, as well as a few women, fall into this category. But it’s still wrong. Speaking now to men: The team you claim to love won’t divorce you for failing to spend time with it by television or cable. But you stand a good chance of alienating-even losing-your family by neglecting them game after game.
In the english language we have one word for love: love. The Greeks have four words for love: Agape, Storge, Phileo, and Eros, Agape is the God-kind of love; Storge is (non sexual) love, based on affection; Phileo is brotherly love. the city of Philadelphia is called the city of brotherly love. Eros, the last kind of love is sexual love, between a man and woman, within marriage.
One word meaning so many different things in the english language. No wonder people find learning English so difficult. In this instance I think the Greeks got it right. The love I have for my dog may be Storge, but it’s certainly not Agape. No, Agape is reserved for human beings, an outgrowth from God-Who is love-and His love inside me.
When it comes to God, I Agape Him. Agape is the highest kind of love because God, Who is Love, is in me, enabling me to love Him in return. The love I have for God is far above any of the other three types mentioned. Yet, on the surface, love is still spelled the same.
It’s too late to change our English language to show the different meanings of the word love. But at least we can agree that, perhaps, love is the most misunderstood word.