The Four Types of Love – Storge

The Four Types of Love – Storge

February 17, 2023 0 By Tricia Satorius

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your
heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping
it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully
round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the
casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will
become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at
least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can
be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

What a powerful statement about love! Love can certainly cost us something, but I have learned over and over that it is totally worth the cost. It may cost time, it may cost money, it may cost your reputation, it may cost your job, or most of all, it may cost having your heart broken into a million pieces. I believe one of the ways this can be the truest is in family relationships. This kind of familial love is known as “storge” love.


Storge love is defined as a “deep and caring bond that develops naturally between parent and children, husbands and wives, siblings and also others who are close enough to be called family. Storge love is a protective love that can withstand hardships and trials” (Candice Lucey, “What is Storge Love in the Bible”, 10/20/21, Crosswalk.com).


According to Lucey, the word storge is derived from the Greek word “philostorgos”, meaning “tenderly loving.” While this word is not found directly in the Bible, there are many places we see the idea of this type of love displayed in the stories of Scripture; such as in the relationships between the siblings Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, as well as the love between Abraham and Sarah and even between Noah and his family and many others. The Biblical example that stands out to me the most is that of the father in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32. When the younger son asked his father for his inheritance, he was basically saying to his dad, “You are dead to me.” In the Jewish culture, this would have been taken as a very serious offense. However, the father agreed, his son left home and he squandered away all his money. The part of the story I love, is in the father’s response when his estranged son comes back home. The son knew he messed up and was hoping he could go home and repent and at least be a servant in his father’s house. He believed he had given up the right to be his son. In their culture, if a son were to disgrace his father in this way, the elders of the town would have been sitting at the town gates waiting to stone the boy if he returned. That is why it is so important to understand what happened next:

Luke 15: 20 says, “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” The father ran through town, past the elders waiting to stone his son and embraced him, so that if they started throwing stones, they would hit him and not his son. Also, it was considered undignified for a Jewish man to hike up his robe, bare his skin on his legs, and run the way he did. But none of that mattered to the father in that moment. The only thing that mattered was that he loved his son, and his son was coming home. Not only that, but he also didn’t just make him a servant, like the son expected; he put a robe on him in his smelly condition, put a ring on his finger, and sandals on his feet. This is significant because only sons were given shoes, but not servants. Then, he threw him a feast with the fattened calf to celebrate his return. How beautiful is the storge love the father showed for his wayward son!

The interesting thing I heard recently is that this story was not original with Jesus. The only difference is that in the original story, the son was stoned to death. Jesus was attempting to demonstrate the love the Father has for lost sinners, and He totally flipped the script on the story, surprising his Jewish audience. I can relate to this type of storge love with two of my children. Our youngest daughter moved away from home, out of state, almost three years ago, and when she first left, she wanted nothing to do with us. She was going through a lot of personal struggles, and she felt she needed to move out and figure things out on her own. As hard as it was to watch her walk out of the house at 20 years old with all her stuff and drive away, we knew that we had to let her go. She was angry at the world and did not want our help. After crying and praying about it, we decided to surrender her completely to the Lord. I felt very strongly that the Lord made it clear to me He wanted me to wait on His timing and let her make the first move to reach out. Aside from a couple of texts letting us know she arrived in Florida, and answering a couple of occasional questions, we did not call her. It was hard, but I also had a sense of peace about it, knowing that the Lord was in control, and He was writing her story.


After three months of not hearing from her, however, I was starting to question if I really should wait for her to call. The Lord knew I was getting anxious, and the next thing I knew, she called me out of the blue one day. We ended up talking for almost three and a half hours! I know that would not have happened if I had tried to reach out to her sooner. I was so glad I had waited for the Lord’s timing. She found a wonderful church down there and has since found freedom in Christ from many of the issues that her bound for years. I thank God that He works in mysterious ways, and I never could have imagined that He would restore her in the ways that He did.


Even though storge love looked like losing her for a while, ultimately, it proved to be the thing that brought her back to us. It was worth the cost of having her go away, to know that she is now pursuing Christ and walking in freedom. Likewise, God never forces His love on us, and I believe that the love between parent and child gives us a small glimpse of the love the Father has for us. So, in a sense, storge love helps us to understand God’s love for us as His children better.

Storge love looks very different for our oldest son. He walked away from the Lord and began pursuing a lifestyle we strongly disagree with about three and a half years ago. We have told him often that we will love him in truth by not compromising our beliefs based on the truths of God’s Word, and we will love him in grace by loving him right where he is at: understanding that God is writing his story too, whether he believes that or not. Speaking truth over him nearly threatened our relationship with him last year, so we had to surrender him completely into the Lord’s hands and remember that we are not his savior or his holy spirit. All God is calling us to do at this point is to love him well, build a relationship with him and his wife, and pray faithfully for them.

I was listening to the Million Praying Moms Podcast with Brooke McGlothlin and Jill Savage recently, and they talked about not just praying the big, life-altering prayers, but also looking for smaller answers to prayer that we might miss if we aren’t paying attention. For instance, we had the chance to be at my son’s wedding, even though we didn’t agree with many things about it and we loved them in very meaningful ways. We spent a lot of time with them over the holidays and received unexpected, kind gifts from them, including a Scripture journal for me, even though they don’t believe in God. Our son also gave a very thoughtful gift of time to my husband to go on a trip together to an event my husband loves going to. I am confident that they know, deep down inside, how much we love them and would fight for them, despite our differences, and we will continue to love them where they are, and fight for them on our knees in prayer. That is what storge love does. It is not always easy, and it can be heartbreaking when you love someone so much, but it is always, always worth the cost.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called children of God!

1 John 3:1

Challenge:
Is there someone in your family who is difficult to love? Have they made choices you disagree
with? How is Jesus inviting you to love them well with storge love at this time? Remember, it
isn’t always easy, but it is always worth the cost.