What is the opposite of love? Is it hate? What does the Bible say about this?
What is love?
Love is a deep and lasting feeling that causes one or more people to act on another and is often done out of altruism and is usually not motivated by external forces. It could be described as a deeply tender and passionate affection for another person and at times is a spectacular, indescribable, deep feeling of euphoria for someone. It could be a beloved person or pet. Many people have a natural love for their own family members like their spouse, children, parents, and many have similar feelings for their pets. To them, pets are like family and when they lose their pet it is like the loss of a family member and there is great mourning in the face of this loss.
Love and discipline
God sees love and discipline as closely linked because, as God says “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he receives(Heb 12: 6). Even in the Old Testament, the love of God is well known as it says in Deuteronomy 8: 5 “Know therefore in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.. “In fact the psalmist writes”Blessed is he whom you punish, LORD, whom you teach according to your law“(Psalm 94:12) and we are told to”do not despise the discipline of the Lord, and do not despise his rebuke“(Prov 3:11)”for the Lord punishes those whom he loves, as a father the son whom he loves(Prov 3:12). Even in the New Testament, Jesus says “Those I love I rebuke and discipline. So be serious, and repent(Rev 3:19) and even evangelism is based on love because we don’t want anyone to face the judgment of God (Rev 20: 12-15) which is why John the Baptist was so adamant in saying “Who warned you to flee the wrath to come“(Luke 3: 7) which brought many”Confessing their sins [and] they were baptized by him in the Jordan”(Mt 3: 6). Here is why we should “not to take lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor to be weary when rebuked by him(Heb 12: 5). God does not take pleasure in the wicked being punished (Ez 18:32) and is “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance(2 Peter 3: 9) which explains why Jesus spoke twice as much of hell as of heaven. He does not want anyone to face the wrath of God, but we all have a choice to make (John 3:36) and he will not impose himself on anyone.
The opposite of love
If you are a parent, you discipline your child because you love them. If you saw them playing in the streets and they refused to come out, you would probably discipline them because you didn’t want them to be hurt or killed. The reason is that you love your children. If you saw a blind man walking towards a cliff, you would most likely warn them that they are in grave danger of falling off the cliff and being seriously injured or even killed, right? I think most of us would. Here is the basics on love then. The opposite of love is not hate; it is apathy or indifference. If you saw your children in mortal danger and didn’t care enough or love them enough to warn or save them, then you couldn’t say that you really loved them. You would let them be hurt or killed because you lacked a love that would motivate you to do something; whatever you can to save them. The same applies to the blind man walking towards the cliff. If you really don’t like people or care about them at all then you would be apathetic about what was going to happen to them and instead of going up to them and warning them you would just sit and watch or even you would turn a way. Hatred is not the opposite of love because if there is hate there is at least some feeling because if you were completely apathetic then you would have no reason to hate; you wouldn’t care at all.
The greatest act of love
When Christians do not care enough about reaching those who will perish without Christ, they are doing anything but acting out of love. Through their apathy to the lost, they are about as loveless as they could be. The greatest act of love is to risk being ridiculed, rejected, despised and laughed at because you care enough to tell others that their day will come when, after they die, they will face God’s judgment (Heb 9 : 27). If you saw someone’s house burn down and knew the family was sleeping upstairs, wouldn’t you be pressured into doing something? You would probably knock on their door and if you didn’t get an answer you would probably try to kick in the door and warn them about the fire. If you had absolutely no love for other people then you would just keep walking and remain completely apathetic to the plight of this family, but isn’t that what many Christians do when they don’t act on it? the imperative command of the Great Commission given by our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 28: 19-20; Acts 1: 8) when we fail to tell others about their need for the Savior? To do nothing is to show no concern, love, and compassion for those who will one day face the wrath of God unless they repent and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15). It’s the epitome of apathy to do nothing, but it’s one of the greatest acts of love to show you care… you care enough to say something, no matter how fine it is. get you out of your comfort zone.
Love and discipline are linked at the hip and in the same way love and hate are closely linked, but the polar opposite of love is indifference or apathy. You don’t care less when you’re not doing anything to help others. The opposite of love is therefore not hatred, it is apathy or indifference, and it is one of the most cruel of all human responses. There is no excuse that we do not tell others about the coming Judgment Day; it is one of the greatest acts of love you can show. The opposite of love is that you don’t even care, you are indifferent and listless. In short, you don’t like other people, only yourself. I am thankful that Jesus did not act this way (John 3:16).
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is the pastor of Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the senior editor of What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage and energize Christians and answer questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon.