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Good Enough Love: A Christian Perspective

shapeimage_1-15Do you ever feel that you can’t love your spouse, your kids, your parents, your friends well enough?

Peter may have felt a bit like that. His first act in response to Jesus appearing twice consists of convincing the others to go fishing. His actions follow a typical human pattern--an intense spiritual experience soon fades, and one returns to the same things he or she has always done. Jesus appears a third time and asks him, "Peter, do you love me?"

"Yes, Lord, you know that I love you"

What kind of love is yours?

The language of the Bible has three words for love where we must make do with just one.

  • Eros, a self-centered love that cares little for the well-being of its object.

  • Philos, love between friends.

  • Agapē, God's love for the world, a pure, selfless love.

Too many relationships flounder when one or more are loving with a self-centered love.

So here is how the conversation between Jesus and Peter might actually sound:

‘Peter, do you love me unconditionally for all eternity?'
‘I love you like a brother.'
‘Peter, do you love me with a love that would sacrifice everything for me?'
‘I love you like a friend.'
Jesus' first two questions use agapē and Peter answers with philos.

However, in his third question, Jesus changes the terminology, asking Peter finally, ‘Peter, do you love me with all the love you are able to muster?”

‘You know that I love you as well as I am able.'

“Well then, feed my sheep.”

Our love is not second class

But it does involve action.  Love involves "doing." Love is as love does. This is love as courage, love as risk, love as not wavering, regardless of what we are called to do. Christ calls Peter and us to love even when we would not otherwise love.

The reassuring part of the story, is that the love to which God calls us -- our kind of love, our attempt at love -- is good enough.  I hope that reassures you, gives you what you need to risk your best love for God, family, friends, neighbours, and even enemies.

We are promised that the best love we can give is good enough.