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The Opposite of Love is Not Hate

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I had always believed–no doubt along with most people–that love’s opposite is hate. I’m sure that’s also true, but consider what the apostle John wrote in his epistle (are you tongue-tied yet?):

“There is no fear in love” (I John 4:18). John went on to say that “he who fears has not been perfected in love.” That got me thinking.

Fears what? What do I fear more than anything else? What do you fear the most?

Maybe it’s death, or the loss of a loved one, but if we were to be honest, I wonder how many would agree that we mostly fear something so silly it’s embarrassing to admit: We fear the same people who fear us.

We worry about what others think while they worry about what we think. We are afraid of fraidy cats–people who blush and  sweat and tremble and get blotchy red necks and butterflies in the pit of their stomach just like we do. No matter how long a string of letters trail behind their name.

What if there were such a thing as “fearless love?” What if we could find ourselves at a place of perfection, completion, in this kind of love? How would it change our lives if we loved without a trace of fear? I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I’ve concluded that with “fearless love” for people I would…

never be intimidated

express myself without inhibition

walk in transparency

not fear being judged

freely admit to my stupid mistakes and laugh at myself

risk reaching out to those who might wound me again

request that interview

ask for that endorsement

apply for that position

start that business

preach that sermon

befriend that neighbor

forgive my husband

hug my teenager

engage the cashier in conversation

schedule dinner guests

dance like nobody’s looking

avoid the use of clichés

What would you add to this list? What would it look like if you could love without a trace of fear?

Too bad it can’t happen. Too bad we have to settle for very human-like love that loves with reservation. Love that loves while carefully protecting “self.” Love that is afraid to let go. Love that’s chained by fear of rolling eyes, of being spent, or disrespected, or under appreciated….

If only there were someone that had this “fearless love” and could somehow work it into our DNA so that we grew in it, became perfected in it. If only we could inherit this kind of love, as a father passes certain genes onto his children. What if there were some type of, say, heavenly Dad who recognized our fearful, less-than-perfectly-loving condition and offered to do something about it. 

Of course it would involve quite the transformation. A spiritual heart transplant of some sort. A mystical transfusion of blood. A receiving of that heavenly love in ourselves first. But oh, what we could do with this new and fearless love!

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” I John 4:18


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