Freedom’s Fireworks for July—Part III

As we celebrate freedom this month, I’ve talked about things to be free from something. Now, I want to shift that focus to freedom to. Back in the 60s, the Beatles had many songs about “love.” But that’s not what I’m going to be talking about. Yes, we need love, but we need to be free to love. The Bible says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” #FreedomsFireworks4July #donnalhsmith #IndependenceDayJuly4 #Free2Love

What does it mean to “love.” Well, there are different words for love in the Bible. The Hebrew is less delineated than Greek. The Hebrew verb for love is ahab — pronounced ah-hayv. With the accent on the last syllable, as many Hebrew words are.

Greeks got explicit with their words for love. There are two different kinds of love described in the New Testament. Agape and phileos. There is the erotic love verb in Greek, eros. But we won’t be dealing with that one.

A great place to discover the different meanings of agape and phileo is in John 21:15-17. Here’s the passage: (NLT)

After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord, “Peter replied, “you know I love you.’ “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord, “Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep…”

We use the same word. The first two times Jesus asked his question of Simon Peter, he used the word agape. When Peter replied, he used the word phileo. Finally, the third time Jesus asked, he used the word phileo. And Peter replied the same. Let’s look at these two words.

Agape — Strong’s G25 (agagao) means to welcome, entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly. Beloved. We use it today as the God-kind of love. Unconditional and free.

Phileo — Strong’s 5368 means to love, to approve of, to like, to treat affectionately or kindly, to welcome, befriend. Today we understand to be a friendship kind of love.

This week, as part of a class, I wrote a letter to a dear friend, that I love with the God kind of unconditional love. I was so happy to be able to show Cherrilynn Bisbano how I feel about her.

Whatever word you use for love — love well. Be free to love. Be free to love others. Feel free to be kind to them and show them how you feel. #FreedomsFireworks4July #donnalhsmith #IndependenceDayJuly4 #Free2Love

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