In a recent blog, "Christian Love, AGAPE Love, is NOT an Emotion!", we covered how Jesus gave us the command to love one another. We also saw that this type of love is not an emotion, but comes through our actions. Exhibiting and experiencing agape love is therefore a choice.
The antithesis or opposite of this form of love is not hate. Hate is also an emotion which can lead to action.The antithesis to agape is apathy or indifference. It is choosing, either actively or passively, not to act by doing what Jesus would have us do.
This is what Jesus said in His parable of the Sheep and the Goats:
The Sheep and the Goats
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
None of us can address all of the problems of the world. But we can give our all to the world in a loving manner.
The Evangelist John Wesley stated it this way:
Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.
We know that our salvation is based on God’s grace alone, not works. So why is this love action necessary?
Because when we love Jesus Christ, accept Him as Lord and Master, we establish a relationship based on that love. We become new creatures in Christ. Our hearts are changed and we follow our hearts with our actions. This is what Paul meant when he wrote “Faith without works is dead.”
If our actions are based on anything other than the love relationship between each of us and the Messiah our motives are selfish and prideful… works without faith.
Loving one another is not a passive emotional status. Christian love, agape, is love in action!