Today’s Scripture: Owe no man anything, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8

Not long ago, a certain gas station in Thessaloniki, Greece, discovered itself to be in a very explosive situation.  During the installation of a new tank, construction workers found a 500 lb., unexploded World War II bomb. They were only 4 mm away from hitting it. As a result, Greece experienced its biggest peacetime evacuation in history. Firing mechanism still intact, it took about an hour and a half to diffuse the bomb.

If we are not careful, our relationships can be rather explosive at times as well. How do we diffuse these situations? We diffuse them by love. Often, we neglect to realize that we are all in a debt of love to one another. Scripture tells us that if we desire to keep the law, we must love our neighbor as ourselves. This will solve every problem. If you truly love your neighbor, you’re not going to lie about them, harm their marital relationship, or be jealous of what they possess. If you truly love them, the sun will not go down upon your wrath. When attempting to diffuse volatile situations with love, we must take into account that there is more than one kind of love.

There is “pizza love” – which is a term I just invented, and its definition applies to the feeling we have when we really like something. Another kind of love is “puppy love,” which is illustrated every time a Junior High kid falls madly in love and then finds themselves smitten with someone else the next day. There is “brotherly love,” which comes from the Ancient Greek word “phileo.” Then, there is a “mother’s love,” which is perfectly illustrated when a mother has just endured the most grueling pain imaginable yet is lovingly hugging her newborn child. However, the strongest love of all is “agape love,” which is sacrificial and unconditional. It is the love with which our heavenly Father loves us and it is this love that we need to cultivate in all of our relationships.

Agape love says, “I accept you as you are and I choose to deny myself.”  This love is more than just a feeling; it is an act of the will. In short, agape love is accompanied by works that really work. In any successful God-honoring relationship, you will labor and exert yourself. This selfless effort will make your relationships succeed, although some may take more effort than others. Whether it is to your condescending co-worker, your fussy neighbor, or your demanding mother-in-law, exhibiting agape love to that person harnesses your faith in a way that can diffuse any bomb.

Devotional by Jim Scudder Jr.