Monday, June 4, 2012

Love -- To the Left of Us?

An old friend – evidently in the Facebook sense of the word only -- recently attacked me publically for being unchristian because I am conservative in my politics – I’m unloving -- which I am from time to time -- which we all are from time to time, but caring about the well-being of others in the name of Christ does not demand that I steal from Peter to pay Henry to give the rest to Paul who always votes for Henry. That isn’t what I call love. It isn’t what the Bible calls love either.

Understanding biblical love requires knowledge about language. Though English is one of the richest, most flexible languages to develop on this earth, it isn’t very exact. Koine Greek, the main language in the New Testament, is, because of its history (Alexander the Great developed it to make communication with his troops foolproof), so it’s useful to look at the Greek words that are translated love in English.

Love, that simple English word, is an emotional word that can indicate how we feel about anything from cookie dough ice cream to our firstborn child. The key word there is feel. But the biblical words that are translated love aren’t all about emotion.