Do we ever say no to a person loving us? Can a person love someone with agape love (agape pronounced “ah-gah-pay” and meaning selfless love without family or sexual ties or overtones – pure like Jesus loves us), if they don’t know Jesus? Matter of fact, can they love with agape love if they don’t know Greek? or what the definition of love is?
My great friends and I had a brief discussion tonight about perfect love. Specifically, what is the driving force or motivation behind loving someone perfectly? I was late to a meeting-slant-bible study, and the question/answer session was already started. The gist of the question was this: “Can a person love perfectly if they don’t know Jesus Christ?”, at least that is what I heard.
The short answer, of course, is no. We can’t fathom a love bigger than ourselves without having the life and sacrifice of Jesus to provide an example for us. The neatest thing about Jesus is that his brilliance doesn’t depend on human emotional/rational understanding. We RECEIVE his grace whether we can explain it or not.
I brought up, though, my friend who loves people, his family, his life, and sets high standards for himself and his behavior. He doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ. (Yes, there is a big discussion about where his moral compass comes from, who defines right and wrong, what happens when he fails, etc.)
However, my question is this: do we accept or reject love from a person who doesn’t know and live the “Jesus way”? I just can’t think of a situation where I would refuse love/kindness/grace from a well-meaning person offering it. Of course I only mean love in the vein of what the Bible describes as Agape love. I think people can ‘stumble into’ God’s will, or I guess be used by God, even if they don’t believe in Him. After all, haven’t we heard the story where a guy says, “Oh, I don’t believe in God”. And the other guy says, “That’s alright, He believes in you.”
Can they unknowingly model ‘agape love’?
I mentioned CS Lewis who wrote, in The Chronicles of Narnia, about a horse or donkey who loved purely, but had never heard of Aslan. Lewis’ contention is that love like that is still Godly love; it just hasn’t been explained to the giver yet. I can’t find the reference so I’ll have to re-read all seven books (good idea, anyway).
Again, rephrased, do we have to UNDERSTAND God to love the way he tells us to? We love Him; he loves us way better. We don’t get why.
But it doesn’t matter.