Monday, April 28, 2008

The Opposite of Love

I've believed over the years, and heard preached, that hate should be hated. I understood that hate was a total departure from love—the exact opposite of what love is all about. I have to admit, the cliché sounded right. The world even agrees with it. But I am no longer so sure that this is accurate. I've seen too much. I've notice that those who express hate are expressing a passion. Often those who hate hate the one's they swore they loved. What do I mean?

Time will tell

Jesus told his disciples to expect trouble. He said that trouble will even come from within his church. He said,

"At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come."
—Matthew 24:10-14

Jesus is saying that their will be a time when we may be betrayed by our own brothers or sisters. We will be disappointed by one-another. Some may not even be believers, but they will look like believers.


What's common between love and hate is that they are passionate. Even if they have opposite ends—love seeks the good of a particular person, while hate seeks the harm of a particular person—they share a common passionate awareness about the other.

However, there is nothing in common between love and cold love. Cold love is without passion. It doesn't hate, it just doesn't care. This is worse than hate, because there is no engagement, no passion, no care, no concern, no affect. When a person is cold, she isn't changed for the good or the bad. She's just lukewarm. She just doesn't care enough to struggle with the other person.

As the proverb says,

Better is open rebuke than hidden love.
—Proverbs 27:5

A loving church is not necessarily a peaceful church

What's my point? A functioning church isn't one without conflict or struggle. A functioning church will have internal peace as it's goal, but not at the expense of truth, or dealing with very real issues. If a church is peaceful, but isn't growing or maturing, I would question whether it desires to do so. In fact, the very act of attaining maturity involves struggle.

The act of love isn't theoretical. It is an act of the will. Think about it. What will someone do if they just don't care? Nothing.

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