The Opposite of Love

I know (for most of you, at least) that you read ” the opposite of love” and think “is hate.”

I disagree. (And if you already know what I think about this, please hold your comments until the end. Thanks.)

Hatred comes from one of two places.

The first is loving something/someone so much that you want to protect that love. Anything that interferes with or threatens that bond or the well-being of the object of love is rightfully hated.

“do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord.”
Zechariah 8:17, ESV

As a reminder, this does not mean we hate people. People are acting out from the real problem: sin, the evil within.

We hate the sin. (We can have another conversation at another time about the saying “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Also, another another conversation can be had about jealousy.)

The second source of hatred is also the true opposite of love.

What is this?

I will ask a few questions to get us there:

  1. What was Adam and Eve’s reaction to hearing God walking through the Garden after eating the fruit? (Genesis 3:10)
  2. What was the reaction of Peter when he saw the wind and the waves when walking on the water?
  3. What is the one reassuring command given throughout Scripture? (for example Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:9; Isaiah 8:12; Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:13, 30; Philippians 4:6)

Hopefully you see it now!

The opposite of love is fear.

Fear leads to all kinds of craziness, such as avoiding others, making mistakes, hurting others, and even hatred.

This is not to say that fear always leads to hatred. Hatred can come from misplaced love (loving self or something more than is good) or ignorance (both innocent and willful ignorance). This is a mixture of the first source of hatred and fear.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.
1 John 4:18, ESV

Loving others frees us of hatred and the fear of what they may do to us.

Love also frees us of the fear of God’s punishment for our sin, but only when we see the truth that He loved us and showed it by coming as a man to sacrifice Himself for the forgiveness of our sin. This is also what empowers us to love others. (1 John 4:19)

It is also what reminds us that, while we are born into and perpetuate the sin of Adam and Eve, we are freed from that sin.

  1. That was pretty good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I have been saying such for years but never wrote them down. Our Monday night group is going through 1 John and just did chapter 4. The discussion was great, so I had no time to share then. So I wrote it!

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