Jesus set the standard (requirement of moral conduct) to love others as he loved us.
Matthew 5:43-48 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
There are four types of love found in the Bible:
1) Eros: lust or desire to be satisfied that takes and rarely gives. The world is full of this type of love;
2) Phileo: friendship type of love where you’re knit together with a common purpose;
3) Storge (pronounced STOR-jay): like the affection for an old sweater or slippers, or an old dog;
4) Agape: Sacrificial love that is only given by God.
We can’t work up Agape love but God gives it to us as a fruit of his Spirit. It is not an emotion but an action word. Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross by agape love. He said of those who put him on the cross, “Father, forgive them…” It’s a choice we make by giving ourselves 100% to do what God wants. We choose to give ourselves for the benefit of another regardless of what it costs us. When you don’t feel like doing something, there’s a greater expression of love than when you do feel like doing whatever it is. When Jesus prayed in agony, he was willing to die for us. Jesus showed love and asked us to go do likewise. Jesus didn’t condemn the woman taken in adultery but said “go, and sin no more” (John 8:3-11).
Love is longsuffering and kind. Jesus prayed when Peter was going to deny him, that when Peter was converted his faith wouldn’t fail and he’d strengthen the brethren. To condemn or find fault isn’t agape love. God’s longsuffering brought us to him. God’s love is kind-gentle to all (II Timothy 2:24). We need to show love, compassion, and patience in disagreements.
I Corinthians 13:4-8a (Amplified Bible, Classic Edition) Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything…is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances …endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].
Love isn’t envious or jealous when someone else receives something but we don’t. Love doesn’t boast, brag, or praise ourselves. An attitude of “I’m right and you’re wrong” doesn’t display the agape love of God. Love isn’t arrogant, inflated with pride, rude, self-seeking, and doesn’t insist on our own rights or way. When Jesus’ rights were taken away, he didn’t insist on his own way. He didn’t say anything. It is not the love of God if we insist on our own way or rights. We have to crucify the flesh. Jesus didn’t keep an account of the evil done to him. We need to be willing to be wronged and keep a sweet attitude so we shine for God. People found fault but Daniel didn’t pay attention to it and prayed 3 times a day.
Love will endure through everything. In marriage, you need agape love because human love will fail in hard situations. Husbands are to love their wives like Jesus died and gave himself for the church (Ephesians 5:25), and wives are to love their husbands also. Love will think the best of people. It will endure and not fade or become obsolete. Every morning we have to choose to die so we show agape love. We have to show love to our neighbors like we would to ourselves.
Leviticus 19:17-18 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against…thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself…
God told Elisha where the enemy was hiding so the king of Israel wouldn’t be destroyed. When the enemy comes, there are still more with us than the enemy. God said fear not. He still surrounds us when the enemy tries to attack. Elisha fed the enemy and let them go; he showed love, kindness, and compassion. The Syrians didn’t come against them anymore.
II Kings 6:8-23 Then the king of Syria warred against Israel…saying, In such and such a place shall be my camp. And the man of God sent unto the king of Israel, saying, Beware that thou pass not such a place…the Syrians are come down. And the king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told…and saved himself there…Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was sore troubled…called his servants, and said…Will ye not shew me which of us is for the king of Israel? And one…said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet…telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber. And he said, Go and spy where he is, that I may…fetch him. And it was told…he is in Dothan. Therefore sent he…a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early…an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said…my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed…Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man…behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. And when they came down to him, Elisha prayed…Smite this people, I pray thee, with blindness. And he smote them…according to the word of Elisha. And Elisha said…This is not the way…I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria. And…when they were come into Samaria, that Elisha said, Lord, open the eyes of these men…And the Lord opened their eyes, and…they were in the midst of Samaria. And the king of Israel said…shall I smite them? And he answered, Thou shalt not smite them: wouldest thou smite those whom thou hast taken captive…? set bread and water…that they may eat and drink, and go…So the bands of Syria came no more into…Israel.
When Saul was after David to kill him, Saul went into a cave to relieve himself. David told his men not to kill Saul
I Samuel 24:1-10…Saul was returned from following the Philistines…was told him…David is in the wilderness of Engedi. Then Saul took three thousand chosen men…to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. And he came …where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave. And the men of David said…Behold the day of which the Lord said…I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good… Then David…cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily…David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt. And he said…The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord. So David stayed his servants…to rise against Saul. But Saul…went on his way. David also…went out of the cave…saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself. And David said..Wherefore hearest thou men’s words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? Behold…the Lord had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared…said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the Lord’s anointed.
Saul recognized David was righteous and to be king. He asked David to spare his seed when he died and David was king. David agreed and later brought Saul’s son Mephibosheth to sit at his table and be taken care of. God anoints pastors of the Church of God. He doesn’t want people to get bad attitudes but to respect and honor the pastor, as David did Saul.
I Samuel 24:16-22…Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul…and wept. And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil…thou killedst me not…I know well that thou shalt surely be king…Swear now…thou wilt not cut off my seed after me…David sware…Saul went home…
David didn’t have a bad attitude when Shimei threw rocks and cursed him. He said the Lord let it happen. God allows what comes in our life. We’ll rise against others and won’t show love, kindness or longsuffering if we don’t have agape love.
II Samuel 16:5-13 And when…David came…a man of the family…of Saul…came forth, and cursed still as he came. And he cast stones at David…said Shimei…come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial…Lord hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son…because thou art a bloody man. Then said Abishai…Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me…take off his head…king said, What have I to do with you…let him curse, because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David…It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction…requite me good for his cursing this day. And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei…cursed as he went, and threw stones at him, and cast dust…
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)