In studying Greek and Hebrew words lately, I’ve noticed that there are two words that Satan has worked to change the meaning of.

The first word: Jesus

“God damn it!… Jesus!… What the hell are you doing?!!!” I recently heard a man shout as he was working alongside a younger man, who perhaps, just might have done something wrong. These words said by strangers have poisoned my ears on more than a few occasions. How has it come to be that the name of Jesus is now a curse word? Have you ever heard anyone, anywhere, use the name of Allah, Mohammed, Buddha, Krishna, or other religious leaders in vain? No! Satan’s all out effort is to discredit the Name above all other Names—Jesus!

The second word: Love

God is love. Yet, when you say to someone nowadays, “I love you,” what do they think? Perverted magazines, store signage, but that’s just a drop in the bucket. My granddaughter upon receiving a birthday present hugs it and screams with delight, “I love this!” Such child-like adoration is not offensive in any way, but where did she learn this? From me, her parents as we make remarks like, “I love the Green Bay Packers,” or “I love my new car”, or “I love this shirt.”

Consider, have these things become idols in my life? Do they reflect my inner priorities? Even some Bible translations, especially the NIV, translate words like חֵסֵדk (heh’-sed) which means “goodness” or “kindness” as “love” [1]. And at times the NIV translates “sexual relations” as “love” as well [2]. Where as אָהַב (aw-had) is the reverent love that God calls us too [3].

The Greek also has 4 well-known words for love and 4 lesser known words. The common words are:

Agape

This love is an unconditional, selfless love. Agape is a love of esteem. It has the idea of lifting up the object of the love. Agape love keeps on loving even when the loved one is unresponsive, unkind, unlovable, and unworthy. It is an unconditional love. This is the highest form of love for the Greeks. Agape is אָהַב (aw-had) the reverent love of the Old Testament.

Phileo

This love is a companionable love; a love of equals. Phileo love speaks of affection; it responds to kindness. It involves giving as well as receiving, but when the relationship is broken, this love may fade away.

Storge

This love has its basis in one’s own nature. Storge is a natural form of affection that often flows between parents and their children. Storgē is a natural affection or natural movement of the soul for a person or animal. It is a quiet, abiding feeling within a person concerning a thing a person feels good about.

Eros

This love represents the idea of sexual passion and desire. This love is erotic love. The basic idea of this love is self-satisfaction.

Whereas other languages have multiple words to describe and differentiate love, English does not. Again, Satan succeeds because our of language’s limits.

As you hear others misuse these words, we need to take care too. After preaching to others, we do not want to disqualify ourselves [4]. Our words are a witness. When we hear Jesus’ name used in vain, don’t accept it passively. When we say we “love” something, take care who is listening. God knows our hearts, but do others?

[1] Genesis 20:13; Numbers 14:18

[2] Genesis 29:21

[3] Genesis 29:18; Exodus 20:6

[4]1 Corinthians 9:27

 

 

PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for other 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.