What is love? Good question. Is it the sweaty palms, heart racing, hair twirling, fidgity, warm and tingly sensation? Is it looking for someone else's interests before your own? Is it wanting to constantly be near that person or when you can't get someone off your mind?
It is important to know that there are many different types of love, which may be why it is so hard to define it. The Greeks had four different words for love. Agape is the kind of love that you extend towards others, not necessarily feeling (attraction) based. For example wanting to help someone out because it is the right thing to do is agape. Storge is the kind of love a parent shows towards a child. However, this doesn't mean that this kind of love is merely between a parent and child. Wanting to nurture a person is storge. Eros is an eratic love, the kind of love we write songs about, the romance and passion and sex. Philia is a friendly, brotherly love.
First let's talk about Storge. Helaman 11 has a great example of storge. At this point in the Book of Mormon there are wars all throughout the people of Nephi. Nephi, the prophet at the time, cries to God and pleads that rather then destroy the people send a famine so the people would be humbled. The Lord agrees and begins to dry the land. The people stop fighting and begin to perish because of hunger. Eventually the people begin to humble themselves and repent. When Nephi sees the change in their heart he asks God to bring forth rain and he does so. The people rejoice and prosper in the land.
Nephi loved the people even though they were wicked and fighting with one another. He loved them so much that he asked God to send a famine. Wait, what? If he loved them, why wouldn't he just ask for the wars to stop? Nephi was showing storge. He loved them so much that he knew that the only way they would remain happy is if they were to humble themselves and turn to God. Think of it kinda like tough love. You know when you were younger and your parents told you not to do something, but you insisted and insisted that you do it so they finally let you, knowing full well that you would learn a hard lesson, but they let you go so you could learn for yourself? Nephi did the same. He sent the famine and let some suffering to occur so they would learn. He did that because he knew it would make them better people, he did it because he loved them.
Sometimes God will do the same for us. He knows that in order for us to become the best person that he KNOWS we can become we need to learn some things the hard way. He gives us challenges because he loves (storge) us. He is teaching and nurturing us.
Let's talk about philia next. Philia is a friendly, brotherly love. Just being a good friend. Helping others to be their best.
On Valentine's Day of course everyone wants Eros, the passion and the romance, but remember that there are other kinds of love you can extend as well, as well as every other day of the year. Brighten someone's day by showing a different kind of love. A Christ-like love. :)