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Agape Love: Meaning, Origin, and Examples

A woman on a mountain embracing the universe and the concept of agape love.

We’ve all heard the word ‘love’ a million times throughout our lives. There are so many different variants of it; it evokes different emotions in each of us. You can love your partner, your parents, your job, your morning bagel. You can love a movie, a dog, a walk on a beach, the stars in the sky. Though love is a very common word—one that many of us throw around without thinking about it—there are still many kinds we may not reference regularly,  in particular ‘agape love’.

Agape love: what exactly is it?

Those who are familiar with the Bible or consider themselves people of faith may be familiar with this expression. But what does it actually refer to, and where did it come from? In fact, what does it look like?

Simply put, agape love is universal love. It’s often used to describe the love one has with God, but it can also expand beyond that. This kind of love – as the love for God, nature, or humanity – has been tied to having healthy mental and physical outlook on life. When you express yourself in terms of agape love, you’re putting others before yourself.

To find an example of agape love, you only have to look around you. It can be found in the people who dedicate their lives to helping others for the good of humanity, like teachers, nurses, or people who dedicate themselves to others.  Another example of this love is in the Bible, where God’s love for all of humanity is expressed throughout the literature.

For people who donate to charity out of the goodness of their hearts, agape love is at play. Doing something for another person, whether you know them personally or not, is a shining example of this particular kind of love.

If you still can’t grasp how agape love is different than any other kind of love, picture this. This kind of love is not an action, it’s a feeling; it’s the driving force that inspires you to click on someone’s GoFundMe and donate to their ailing family member. It’s is the feeling you get when you reach into your pocket and give money to someone you pass on the street.

Agape love is the motivation you have to cook a gigantic dinner for your friend who is going through a tough time. It’s the feeling that lives inside of you, encouraging you to make society a slightly better place, one kind gesture at a time.  It’s the love for your God, whoever that may be; your people, whoever they are; and nature, the ability to respond and love and care for the planet around you.

Agape love makes the world a better place.

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