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Kathy's Faith Walk

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God is Love

I have read the Bible many times throughout my life. No matter where I choose to pick up my reading, it is not long before I am yet again pulled into another chapter of Hebrew history permeated with the love of God for that people.

Like a Father, He created them. Like a Mother, He nurtured and taught them. Like a lover He wooed and embraced them close to His heart. Like a Priest he interceded for them. Like a Shepherd He gathered and protected them. Like a King, He went to battle for them. God is all this encompassed into one being, and infinitely more. His love is beyond our understanding and yet we are the unconditional beneficiary of it. We could not stop Him from creating us. We cannot stop Him from redeeming us. We cannot stop Him from loving us. Because of His love for all people, He gave the early church Hebrews the task of telling the Gentiles that they too were loved by Him. However, He also gives us the freedom to deny it all and many do.

But what is love to God? While the English language has only one word for love, the Greek and Hebrew languages used in the Bible, have a word for almost every kind of love.

In Hebrew, Raya means deep friendship, or perhaps "soul mate." This is when you just enjoy hanging out together but it can grow into Ba’ahavah. When ba’ahavah develops, you cannot imagine being anywhere else but with the object of your affection. The last Hebrew word for love is Dod, pronounced dode. This word means passion, plain and simple.

In Greek, Eros is romantic love. Philia is the love of close friendship. Storge means affection such as that felt between family members. Agape love is that love which allows us to be self sacrificing; able to love and ultimately serve our enemies. It is not dependent on any reciprocation whatsoever. This is the kind that Jesus showed to us through His death on the cross and ultimate rising from the dead, an event Christians worldwide just celebrated.

By far, my favorite word for love is the Hebrew, ba’ahavah. When this word is spoken it requires that breath be released onto/into the recipient. This is very deep, affectionate love.

God is love in all its forms. He is love’s source. Once we understand that, and come into communion with Him, He will take us to spiritual depths that far surpass anything this world has to offer and we too will be able to unconditionally agape those around us just as He does. Not only is it just really cool, it is also His commandment to all who would follow Him.

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Author info

Kathy Osborne Kathy Osborne is the editor of the Co Op Country Store's newspaper, the Co Op Round-Up. In her spare time she checks in on her three grown children, or listens to her husband play music.

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