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A couple of days ago, I contrasted the mixed martial arts bouts called Ultimate Fighting Championship with love. Both are extremes. The first seeks to defeat another through aggression and inflicting pain. But love is extreme because it seeks what is best for another, even if it requires self-sacrifice. Sometimes it is good to examine the extremes.
But we also can learn more about love by contrasting it with something that is similar, yet not the same. In 2 Peter 1:7 we are told to add “to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.” (NIV 1984)
Brotherly kindness can also be translated brotherly love. So what is the difference between brotherly love and the word love in this passage? They are different words in the original language. Understanding the differences between them is necessary.
Brotherly love is the emotional connection we feel with family or close friends. It can be a powerful emotion. The Greek word phileo describes this type of love. But it differs from the ultimate love. The Greek word agape is used in multiple commands we see to love God and each other. This love chooses to provide what is best for another, but not because the person is winsome or deserving. It is unselfish. Today, choose to do what is best for others, to provide what they need, to bless their lives, even if it requires sacrifice.
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.