The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.
~ Elie Wiesel
I remember once someone trying to explain to me that hate is not the opposite of love. Both love and hate are energized, charged and, therefore, more similar than different. If you placed them on a diamond ring they would occupy the space on either side of the diamond. As you move away from the diamond, each side gets colder, until you are opposite the diamond. At that point is apathy. Apathy is the lack of energy, the lack of charge and, therefore, the opposite of either love or hate.
It is easy to get lulled into human reasoning. The problem with the above reasoning is that it is not only wrong, but it is actually quite shallow and stupid. Will we get our ideas from illogical worldly philosophies, or will we get them from the Bible, whose author created humans, created human emotions and even gives us instructions for all of the important portions of our lives?
Unfortunately, how many who claim to be a part of the Church are just as guilty of human reasoning? They may point to a passage or two of Scripture, but they conveniently ignore the parts they do not like.
It is interesting that in COG circles there is an oft-cited passage that seems to be rarely followed even by those who quote it most often:
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
~ Isa 55:8-9
What is interesting is that even human reasoning understands that love and hate are polar opposites. The opposite of 100 is not 0. The opposite of 100 is -100. It is the same energy applied in the opposite direction. Up is the opposite of down rather than being the opposite of being suspended in midair.
The Bible is full of examples of using polar opposites to illustrate a point. In fact, most of the Proverbs work that way. Laziness is compared to diligence, foolishness is compared to wisdom, righteousness is compared to wickedness, etc.
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
~ Ecc 3:8
Later on, I will discuss how love is an emotion. One of the proofs is self-evident: If hate is the opposite of love, they must both be emotions.
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours.
4 And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.
5 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.
It would be foolish to claim that Joseph’s brothers did not feel a strong emotion towards him. They wanted to kill him! Likewise, it would be equally foolish to claim that the grief, another emotion, that Jacob felt after Joseph’s disappearance was not due to another emotion called love.
Yet, many in the COG circles would use human reasoning and selective cherry picking of Scriptures to argue that godly love is not an emotion. How foolish! And, I mean the biblical meaning of “fool” as in one that totally disregards God’s word!
3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;
~ Dt 24:3
Notice that “if he hate her”, he will write a bill of divorce. Can we reasonably argue that this is apathy? After all, if he simply did not care, why change anything at all? No, people don’t change due to apathy, and, in fact, they will instead more stubbornly cling to whatever it is they are already doing or not doing.
People don’t divorce due to apathy. They divorce because they cannot stand one another, and, at times, because they have found someone “better”.
The entire Jewish culture was steeped in such idiomatic ways of thinking about opposites, such as is displayed in the Proverbs, in Jesus day. Jesus Himself used the same type of comparisons to contrast opposites. And, after all, why not? He was the One Who inspired the Proverbs!
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
~ Mt 5:43-44
Can anyone reasonably argue that love and hate were not being contrasted as opposites here?
24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
~ Mt 6:24
Again, the Hebrew idiom demands that these be opposites! These are the words of Our Lord! Do we believe Christ, or do we believe worldly philosophers who don’t even use any common sense to make an illogical argument?
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
~ Mt 24:9
Again, we see emotion at work. Only what we call “cold-blooded killers”, aka psychopaths, kill for pleasure or from other causes than hate. Love must be an emotion if it is the opposite, which Jesus showed.
Logic dictates that we allow for emotions when speaking of emotions. Emotions are not necessarily themselves logical! That is why they are classified as emotions.
Hatred destroys. Love builds. Hatred kills. Love makes alive. They are opposites, and Jesus Himself demonstrated the most illogical emotion of all:
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.
~ Jn 3:16
Next time some idiot claims that godly love is not an emotion, point to this verse and ask them to explain the logic behind it. People die only for things, causes and people they love. They do so to their own hurt, which is not logical but emotional.
We are precious in God’s sight. Never forget that. We have value because He attributes value to us!
31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
~ Mt 10:31 (ESV)
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
~ Ro 5:8 (ESV)