It is commonly held in most circles and intellectual arenas that the opposite of love is hate. While on one level, this makes plain sense that needs almost no explanation, I think there is a different way to think about love that makes this common statement inaccurate.
Notice I didn’t say “false.” It would be a foolish notion to claim categorically that hate and love are not opposed to each other. I chose the word “inaccurate.” I do so because I think there is a better antithesis to love than hate.
That would be fear.
Fear is the better choice when discussing love’s opposite. Love is liberating. It always has other people’s well-being in view.
And to love a person in that context is the definition of courage. To be willing to lay down your life for someone else’s well-being means that you must take control of fear and respond against it.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” - 1 John 4:18
You catch the strange part of that verse? Fear has to do with punishment. It is tethered to the idea of retribution, consequence, and such. “You’re gonna get what’s coming to you.”
So, how does that type of fear stand as an opposite of love? Remember, love is liberating. 1 Corinthians 13 says is does not remember wrongs (v. 5). Not hating someone is often easier than completely letting go of the wrong they did to you. You become afraid that if you let go of an offence committed, somehow you will be validating the wrongful behaviour.
But that’s exactly what love demands. It is not a dismissal of justice. It merely recognizes that exacting justice is not at the heart of what love truly is.
Therefore, take today to consider the wrongs done to you that you need to let go of, once and for all. Choose to forgive and restore broken relationship where you can. Extend the fearless love to all you come into contact with.
If you are a practicing Christian, here is something you need to hear. If your heart and mind is that the addicted, impoverished, and broken people dug their own grave and the rest of society is not responsible for their bad mistakes, then I ask you to wake up.