Bible Reading: John 2:13-17
The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children. Hebrews 12:6
You know what agape love is all about. It’s gift-love. It’s the love that God has for us and that he wants us to pass on to other people. It’s sacrificial—we may have to give up something. But we expect nothing in return from those we love.
Now that you have that down pat, vote “yup!” by checking any statements that describe what true agape love looks like:
□ You lie down in the doorway at school or work on a snowy day so people can wipe their boots on you.
□ You invite the guy who copies the front page of your homework to copy the back too.
□ You let your friends order you around and always pick what to do.
When our biggest goal is to love others, we might think we have to do some crazy things. But that’s sloppy agape. Agape love doesn’t turn us into someone others can abuse. Check out these huge points about agape.
Love involves discipline. Look at God. He’s a loving Father, yet his love doesn’t mean he creates brats. He “disciplines those he loves, and he punishes those he accepts as his children” (Hebrews 12:6). Love doesn’t go soft on wrongdoers by letting bad behavior slide. It helps them grow up.
Love can be tough. Jesus—God’s love in human form—unleashed anger at his opponents (see Mark 3:5). He verbally blasted hypocrites, who say one thing and do another (see Matthew 23). He chased greedy merchants out of the temple (see John 2). Love can mean calling attention to evil—or taking a time-out from a friendship when your friend continues to hurt you.
Love can fail. You may remember from some wedding sermon the 1 Corinthians 13:8 phrase, “Love never fails” (NIV). Actually, the right way to translate that is, “Love will last forever.” The sad truth is this: While God’s love is perfect, humans do not perfectly show that love.
God wants us to show his love, his care, and his best for others. But doing what’s best for others doesn’t mean letting them take advantage of us. The most loving thing we can do is be a better example—and, if necessary, to point them toward better attitudes and actions. That’s real love.
TALK: Have you ever thought that agape love meant you had to be a doormat? What does it really mean?
PRAY: God, help us to love wisely. Show us what true agape love looks like.
ACT: Talk together about one way you can show real agape love today—without letting anyone take advantage of you.