I am going to inform you of something that I hope you already are aware of, but if not, I am sorry to have to break the news to you. The lost that you know in your life, those who have not yet accepted Christ as Savior do not really love you, even if they are some of the closest members of your family. Although their actions may seem to be given in a way that portrays that of love, and they are in the best known way that they can express, they are not the love that the servants of Christ understand, it is the love of the lost, and it cannot even be compared to the love that is in the children of God.
The most common type of love for those who do not know Christ is called Eros in the Greek, it is a self-gratifying love, one that is dependent on the emotions that are received from others, or from items in the world. It seeks no other action than that of self, even when that action may come from an outside source. In a sense, if you like this person, then they will like you, if not, they will not, if that person is getting something from the giver, they will love the giver. It is a love that is erotic in the sense that is represents that which is fulfilling to the receiver and is not necessarily returned to the giver. It is a love that seeks only its own reward.
Family members would fit into the Storge category, that which seems to best fit those who have a blood or kinship bond, it is of course closer only because of the familiarity of the personal relationship of relation. Many times, this is dependent of course on the closeness that each family member has towards each other, brothers do not always love brothers, in fact they may stay away from each other for the majority of their lives, yet still show up to a close family members funeral.
With Philia love, we start to draw closer to what true love is, but are still far away from the type of love that the Christian is to express, and it is here that the lost begin to show that the love they hold for us falls far short of the love that we are to have for them. This love is a brotherly love, one that we are to express by our actions to those who also are followers of Christ. It is to these that we are to give kindly affection, (2nd Peter 1:7) to love each other earnestly from a pure heart. (1st Peter 1:22) It is to these that we are to love and serve in love, and although we would desire to show that same type of love to those we know who are lost, they cannot accept it as such, and it is impossible for them to express it to us. It is not natural to them, and so they see it as unnatural from us, they cannot see it for what it is, the truth of the bond ship that they are indeed our fellowman, and that we are our brothers keeper in the sense that we care not only for their needs, but for their soul.
Agape love, the highest form of love in the Word of God, is sacrificial, it is selfless, and it is unconditional, it expects absolutely nothing in return. Think on that a moment as you read John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” When Christ died for us what did he expect in return, nothing, not one single solitary thing. That is agape love, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The lost cannot comprehend this type of love unless the Spirit of God draws them to the Lord.
This love is the action of love, not some sappy emotional connection that we may have with our friends, not the brotherly love that we are to express to our brothers and sisters in Christ in words only, but in deeds that require no reciprocation on their part. This is the love that we are to have for all that we meet, it is how we are to be set apart from the world, it is how the lost will know that we are not a part of them, and it is thru this type of love that they will hopefully be drawn to Christ. If there is a love that we are to express above all to others, it is this type of love, and it does not matter who they are.
Try to explain to your elderly grandmother who does not know Christ as Savior that she should have the same love for the person down the street that she has for you, explain to your father-in-law that you love those who are in prison just as much as you love your own mother. This is why the lost may think that they know what love is, but they will fall far short of the truth of the action every time. If you believe this to be an impossible love to obtain, ask Paul when you meet him which of the jailers that beat him, he hated the most. My friends, we have the same Spirit of Christ within us that he had, and it is not only a choice that we have to make, it is commanded of us to have this type of love.
I will be the first in line to admit that I fail miserably at this daily, I love my adoring wife more than anyone in this world, there is no one on this planet that means more to me, and yet I too have been commanded to love all with the love that Christ has for us. I could try to rationalize this statement and say that because the Lord has blessed me with her, that she will always be closer to me than any brother or sister in Christ, that because she knows more about me than I even know about myself that I should trust her more than any other, but that is not what the Word of God says. All love is to be given in wise discernment, but it is to be given freely at all times when it is given, looking for nothing in return.
There is a difference between having a close connection to someone and loving that someone. The lost can only feel this close connection, they do not realize that it is not truly love, for I am of the firm belief that only those who know the love of Christ can truly express love in its fullest meaning. God is love. “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” (1st John 4:7) No one that has not been born of God can know love, it is that simple, God is love, and without Him you cannot know truly what love is.
The moment that a believer in Christ dies, he is in the presence of the Lord, and he will finally know pure joy and eternal love. Those that he loves that are lost in their sins the moment they depart this world will not know this love, who will be the sadder on that day. You will of course, because you will know the truth, and may have already experienced it as I have. Those that I have loved in my life that are no longer alive that never knew the Lord, will never be able to experience the joy of the presence of that love, they will be separated from He who is love forever. That is the knowledge that continues us on the path of trying to reach them, to help them to see that there is a real and abiding love that is eternal available to them for the asking, and it is the reason why the love that they offer us is known to us as what it truly is, temporal.
I knew that my mother loved me, and I loved her, but after twenty plus years of witnessing to her about the love of Christ, unless something happened in those last and final moments, my mother died in her sins. The depth of the love that I gave to her was from Christ, it was a love that knew no boundaries, asked for nothing in return, desired only the best for her. The love that the lost offers us cannot be compared to the love that we offer to them, for that love comes from Jesus Christ. You cannot truly know love without Jesus Christ.
We know these things to be truth, it is up to us thru much prayer and supplication to the Lord to help us to show those that we love the love that He has for them. Without Him, they will never know love, much less be able to express it in all its truths.