Primum Succerrere!   Now that's love!

By Michael Shoesmith

The Bible has many expressions for love. There's "erotic" love (Eros *see note), "friendship" love (storge), "happy" love (phileo) and then there's the kind of love that is a choice no matter how we feel.   In the Greek it's known as "Agape" love.   That's the expression of love we see in 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.
John 3:16

Michael D. Shoesmith is also the author of:

The Fish and the Loaves Cry Out

Doctrines of Atheism

The Christian Perspective on Science

It's the kind of love that is apparently missing in nearly 50% of marriages in N. America today. When the "phileo" love takes a vacation and all the happy feelings seem to have left the building then "Agape" love steps in and rescues the relationship.   It talks the people down off the edge, so to speak.   It's the kind of love that can be hurtful initially but rewards with a positive outcome.   Another example is if a mother witnesses her child wander off into the street after a ball completely oblivious to the oncoming car.   The mother launches through the door and out into the street just in time to violently yank the child out of harm's way.   Even though she may have hurt the child initially, the end result was the salvation of the child's life. In Latin this is known as "Primum Succerrere".   Here's an example of this from wikipedia:

"The goal of cancer treatment is first to eradicate the cancer.   If this primary goal cannot be accomplished, the goal of cancer treatment shifts to palliation, the amelioration of symptoms, and preservation of quality of life while striving to extend life."   Primum non nocere would therefore, theoretically, give way to primum succurrere - "first, hasten to help." When cure of cancer is possible, cancer treatments may be undertaken despite the certainty of severe and perhaps life-threatening toxicities.   Every cancer treatment has the potential to cause harm, and treatment may be given that produces toxicity with no benefit.   The therapeutic index of many interventions is quite narrow, and most treatments are given to the point of toxicity.   Conversely, when the clinical goal is palliation, careful attention to minimizing the toxicity of potentially toxic treatments becomes a significant goal."

Are there any examples of this in scripture apart from John 3:16? Indeed there are.   The Bible calls atheists "fools" (psalm53:1).   Here's one way we are told to deal with "fools"...

Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.   Proverbs 26:5

So, as we deal with persons trapped in the philosophy of naturalism (modern atheism) we are to deal with them in a different way than believers.   From my own personal interactions with atheists it is quite obvious that they pride themselves in their own intellect; something they're not so sure about after encountering people like me, Hovind, Ham, Hannegraaf, etc.   Logic is their friend until they discover that it is transcendental and destroys their philosophy entirely.   But what about the New Testament?   Are there any examples for us from those writers?   Well, a young man came to Jesus and asked Him to allow him to follow the Lord but to first bury his dead father. Listen to Jesus' remarkable reply:

Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.   Luke 9:60

What?   What a horribly insensitive thing to say! Boy, that Jesus was a real meaner... or was he?   Jesus loved that young man by showing him what was really important: the Kingdom of God. Who knows, maybe the boy's father was one of those who got up out his grave at the resurrection.   We may never know His reason. We do know that Jesus wasn't always the picture of political correctness, was he?   Imagine calling people "evil" and "vipers".   Geeeeez, man! Why don't you just lighten up?   No.   Jesus loved them by enlightening them.   He was putting a mirror in front of their faces and practicing "Primum Succerrere" on them.   Sure it hurt their "widdle feewings" but thousands of people had lights go on in their consciousness and realized they were being loved into the Kingdom of God and out of the kingdom of religious bondage.

So it may seem insensitive and cruel to hear the truth about your "ministry" or lifestyle or attitude.   But do you know what?   It's still love my, friend.   There are people I used to care about who are dead today because no one loved them enough to say "what you're doing is wrong and I love you too much to sit idly by and watch you kill yourself".   There are lifestyles that are government sanctioned and killing the participants because winning the next election is more expedient than winning the person.

1 Corinthians 13:1   Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2   And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3   And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4   Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5   Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6   Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7   Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8   Charity never faileth:

I recently shut down a ministry that, by the standards of one being operated by a single person, was large.   I had hundreds of subscribers and I've written and published five books.   Recently the Lord instructed me to shut most of it down; that the fruit was more bad than good. It was a tough pill to swallow.   I had invested hundreds, nay thousands of hours and an equal amount of dollars "building my ministry".   I had hundreds of video teachings and articles that were published all around the world. Now it's all gone.   I was a little disappointed I'll admit, but now I'm excited to see what He has for me next.   I learned a lot from my initial ministry launch.   Hopefully next time the fruit inspector will see more good than bad.   Hopefully. At least I know that He loves me.

Deuteronomy 8:5   Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.
Proverbs 13:24   He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Hebrews 12:6   For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Hebrews 12:7   If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

Primum Succerrere!   Now that's love!

*Note: the word "eros" like the word "trinity" is not directly mentioned in scripture but is both clear biblical concepts.

My name is Michael D. Shoesmith.   I have written and published five books.   Please visit me at Thank you.

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