The Opposite of Love Isn’t Hate

Flying a prop plane from Yakima to Seattle Aug. 2011

When our children were young I was terrified of flying. Flying never bothered me before I had children but after that, the very thought of it would create great mental worry and sometimes physical discomfort. As they grew up, that fear lessened to the point where it’s no longer an issue for me.

Fear, however, is. Again, it has changed over the years but it’s always lurking about. Fear of childhood issues have become fears for my children. Fear of the unknown seems ever-present for most people.

A couple of years ago I heard this statement in a sermon: Hate is not the opposite of love, fear is. Fear the opposite of love? Yes, yes. That’s it. In my life that is true. It’s not hate but fear. Fear of those different from me. Fear of stepping out in faith. Fear my children will suffer tragedy. Fear those I’ve grown close to will relapse and fear for the day my mom won’t know any of us.

If I allow this fear it gives no room for love. “Perfect love casts out fear.”

Perfect love? What love is that? My love has been imperfect, is imperfect as I am imperfect and see no hope of reaching perfection in this mortal life. My love has expectations. My love is fragile, fickle. I don’t know how to accept the perfect love given me. Too often I think I need to be good before I can accept anyone’s love.

If fear is the opposite of love then it is also self-imprisonment because love is freedom and freeing.

I don’t think the Beatles were trying to be theological but their line, “All you need is love” is theologically sound. The greatest commandment is to love God above all else and then to love our neighbor. If we can do those two we will have done all the others. That’s how powerful love is.

“God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect….

 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.” 1 John 4:17,18 NLT

Yes, fear is the opposite of love and I choose love. My choice is to keep trying. To live more in God so the love I know can grow more like His love. I’m a miserable failure at it but I want to love like him. It takes so much more than wanting.


9 thoughts on “The Opposite of Love Isn’t Hate

  1. ragamuffinjoe says:

    Great post! Thank you for these thoughts. I have never considered fear as the opposite of love, but I think you are right. What holds me back from truly loving other people? Fear. What kept me from truly loving God for most of my life? Fear. What keeps me from serving and loving those less fortunate than me? Fear.

    Fear comes in all forms, just as love comes in all forms. I think I can think of a fear to match most situations of love. Now the first you shared makes perfect sense because perfect love does drive out all fears! We can rest in the love of God that was displayed on the cross. When we look to this, fear is relieved and we can truly love God and other people.

    What deep thoughts for early morning! Thanks again. I may do a post on this soon. I will link your post to it, if you don’t mind.

    • Debby says:

      Thank you, though I can’t take credit for the thought. It’s really the only sermon I remember this man preaching in the couple of years I heard him. Obviously, it struck a deep chord in me too.

      I don’t mind at all if you link to this. I’d be most interested in reading a post by your on this topic. Good exchange and dialogue is what helps me grow.
      Thanks again.

  2. ragamuffinjoe says:

    Thoughts about this post help set me up for a day of teaching. What is cool is that a completely random song reminded me of it on the way to school. It wasn’t even a Christian song, but was all about how if someone thinks you are perfect then you can love yourself and not be afraid to love back.

    We aren’t perfect, but through Christ’s sacrafice we are being made perfect. We do not have to worry about our sin separating us…freeing us to love God, each other, and fight against the sin in our lives.

    Awesome stuff. Thanks again for your post. I may post my version of this later tonight.

  3. Debbie says:

    “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” Elie Wiesel
    I’ve accepted that for a long time, but you’ve made me wonder if under indifference, is the deeper snare of fear.
    I’m with you, friend, I chose love! And since He wants it, I believe He’s at work to accomplish it!

    • Debby says:

      Interesting. I’ve heard that quote before but I wonder, as you said, if at the root it isn’t fear? My friend that preached the sermon said he’s been thinking lately what was it that got Satan cast out of heaven. I was taught it was pride. Tom said he’s been thinking if fear wasn’t at the root of that too. Interesting things to consider, especially as to how it relates to me and my relationships. Can we ever really get this right? So thankful for grace because I think that’s what makes it right.

  4. iamforchange says:

    The light of our makers love lives within all of us it is fear that stops most from finding it. We are part of our maker as he is part of us, reach always with your heart for the light and you will find love.

    • Debby says:

      Yes, clearly he is the light. “Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12 And fear keeps us from even looking for his light. Thank you for stopping by and contributing.

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.