Good morning, Five Minute Families. Today we continue our love series studying the Greek words used or indicated in the Bible; those four are agape, phileo, storge, and eros. We have discussed agape – God’s unconditional love – and phileo – brotherly love. Many people will try to compare and rank the types of love. However, aside from agape, the other three loves are not meant to be comparative. Each is desirable. And, this week we are discussing storge – family love.
Often, parents will mention how they “never knew true love until they had a child of their own.” One mother told me that her love for her first child revealed more to her of God’s nature than any sermon ever has. Storge is quickly defined as a “natural love among family members.” While it is most often referred to as the parent/child love, it is a familial love among brothers, sisters, and grandparents as well.
God has Paul use storge in a compound word form found in Romans 12:10 – “Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters. Take the lead in honoring one another.” And, that compound word for love in the original text is the combination of both phileo and storge – two loves combined by God for us to use to create an example of biblical community to the world. Thus, to take a comprehensive, biblical view of storge, we can see that it is a love of unity – unity in our families AND in our biblical communities.
Let’s take that first part of Romans 12:10 – to love as brothers and sisters, and let’s talk about some brothers and sisters of the Bible.
1. Mary of the Mary/Martha sister combo shows us how to be a good role model. While Martha wanted Mary to fulfill what she saw as a family and societal obligation, Jesus pointed out that Mary was setting a good example of how to place God preeminently in our lives.
2. Esau shows us how to forgive within families even when we ourselves have made mistakes. Jacob and Esau had been separated for 21 years when Jacob returned. And, though Jacob had been blessed by God in his endeavors, Jacob was afraid of what Esau would do to him. Esau instead welcomed Jacob home and showered him with love.
3. Jacob’s sons show us to accept one another despite our differences. In the beginning the twelve sons of Jacob were the epitome of a dysfunctional family, but they had to learn the lesson that our differences and our unique purposes can benefit one another.
4. Miriam kept an eye out for Moses when he had to be separated from their family and put into potential harm. She went out of her way to make sure that his rescuer – the Pharaoh’s daughter – would get him the love and care he needed from their very own mother. Family members and church family members must be ready to go the extra mile for one another.
5. I don’t often think of Andrew and Peter, two of Jesus’s disciples, as brothers, but, they were, and as soon as Andrew heard that the Messiah had come, he ran and got his brother. In sharing his faith and joy, he got to be part of God’s plan to bring Peter – the original Rock – to the Lord.
Many people do not treat their biblical communities with a family-type love. They hold church members at arms’ length, never choosing authenticity, service, and openness. We cannot force others to choose to view the church as family, but we can the best examples we can be by being good role models, forgiving one another, being devoted to one another, going out of our way to fill in the gaps for each other, and speaking the joyful wisdom of the Good News. The Bible is filled with one-anothering verses, and loving each other with a storge love is paramount to know how to one-another.
Remember, 1 John 4:20 tells us that “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” And Proverbs 17:17 says, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
Five minute families should not just attend church; we must BE the church. We must be family – holding one another with storge love that brings honor and glory to the Lord. Thank you for joining us. We’d enjoy hearing from you on our clearviewretreat.org blog or over on our facebook page. Have a wonderful week. Be blessed!