“The human loves can be glorious images of Divine love. No less than that: but also no more.”
‘The Four Loves’ by C. S. Lewis
Last week I shared the first of the four loves talked about in the Word of God, PHILEOS, friendship love. This week we are tackling the second type of love, The Word of God refers to in the Greek as STORGE. In the Greek Lexicon, STORGE is defined as “AFFECTION, especially as parents to offspring; but also offspring to parents.”
In the book, ‘The Four Loves’, by C. S. Lewis, Lewis states, “I shall here call it simply AFFECTION.”
While I am not attempting to do a book review in any way shape or form. Nor am I a book promoter, I am simply sharing with you two of, if not THE TWO, favorite authors of mine and their insights on the subject of LOVE.
C. S. Lewis, like I said last week, is a brilliant author and writes an exquisite description of each of the four loves spoken about in the Bible.
Francine Rivers is also a brilliant author who in her latest novel, ‘The Masterpiece’, depicts an unexpected and redemptive love story.
Both reads are well worth your time. Francine will leave you wanting her to write another, and Lewis will strain your brain, while enlarging you heart.
As our focus is on STORGE Love this week, the definition of our Love of Family comes clearly into view with Lewis’s description of AFFECTION.
He defines STORGE love as both a “Need Love”, and a “Gift Love,” as a mother to nursing baby. The importance of this image, Lewis says, it that it represents both the “NEED LOVE,” and the “GIFT LOVE.”
“It is a “NEED LOVE” but what it needs is to give. It is a “GIFT LOVE” but it needs to be needed.” C. S. Lewis
As this definition sinks deep down into my mind and heart, it causes me to reflect on the love of my family of origin. While not perfect, my family loved me. My mother and father were divorced after twenty years of marriage, and both were remarried. While this brought in obvious challenges and changes that my sisters and I would not have elected to have in our lives, we were loved.
It took me years to see this truth in it’s fullness, but nevertheless, it was there.
It also gave me a gift I never recognized until many years later. It gave me a strong desire to pray for and find a mate who would partner alongside me to raise a godly heritage. One who would see and reflect God’s love in their lives and in their life choices.
My marriage was and is, far from perfect! My children are not perfect either (You’ll notice I omitted the “far from”, when referring to my children. In my eyes they are close to perfect)! But in all honesty, I know they are not perfect and I can point out their flaws as easily as they can point out mine. Why? Because we are a FAMILY!
Your family of origin may be very different from mine or it may be similar. Your immediate family may be very different from mine or similar. But the bottom line is NO TWO FAMILIES ARE EXACTLY ALIKE!
They are not intended to be! God has created each of us individually and uniquely! We have a set of fingerprints that NO ONE ELSE HAS! We have a DNA that NO ONE ELSE HAS! God never intended us to follow any set of rules except those outlined in His Love Letter, THE BIBLE!
Your family is unique! Your family is yours, and God intends for you to love the family He gave you!
We have the freedom to choose our other types of loves, but God chooses our family for us!
Therefore, as difficult and sometimes painful as it is to love our family of origin, God calls us to do so!
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other, just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
(AKA my followers.)
WHEN WE LOVE OUR FAMILY WE DEMONSTRATE GOD’S LOVE TO THE WORLD.
Like any of the four loves, it is not always easy. We may have a loving and supportive family and they are easier to love. However, it still calls for sacrifice and selflessness-putting others first above our own wants and desires. We may have a difficult or near impossible family to love, but we are still called to love them with the love of God. This is a supernatural love that does not put us in harms way, but allows us to love and honor our family even from a distance.
It is a natural God-given love between family that propels us to both gift our love to them, as we receive the love we need in return.
As C. S. Lewis terms it, it is the affection love that both “needs love,” and gifts love.”
If we are to LOVE the way God loves us, then we love at all times, and love affectionally those in our family because WHEN WE LOVE OUR FAMILY WE DEMONSTRATE GOD’S LOVE TO THE WORLD!
God loved us, even when we did not deserve it! He gave us His son so that we could know FOREVER LOVE with Him. God chose our family, we did not, and He calls us to love them so that the world will see His love, not our love!
Did you catch that? When we allow the world to define LOVE for us, any kind of LOVE, it comes up wanting! Wanting love in return. Wanting love to take care of us. Wanting love to satisfy. Wanting love to serve. Wanting love perfected.
The only perfect love is JESUS!
Our family will fall short from providing that kind of love for us, just like we fall short in providing that kind of love for them. But when we allow God’s Love to perfect our imperfect love, and love our family anyway, because God loves us, the world sees the Love of God! And, because we are demonstrating “Gift Love”, and giving, we will receive the “Need Love” we desperately desire!
So, as Valentine’s Day approaches, let’s reach out and LOVE those God has given us as FAMILY!
I give God the glory and a heart full of thanks for the family he has given me!
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
I LOVE YOU!
Speak Truth Love