What is the Opposite of Love?

November 6, 2020

We see couples every weekend at our intensives that are struggling. Many say
they aren’t in love with each other anymore. That statement prompts me to ask one of my favorite questions: What is the opposite of love? It’s fun to watch
their faces as their hearts and heads connect with their reflexive answer and they quickly blurt out: I don’t hate him or her … I just don’t love them anymore. Well, let me ask you. What is the opposite of love?

If you’re like most of us … you answered: “hate” … but it’s not hate … it’s
selfishness. How do I know that is the correct answer? From that very familiar
passage of scripture called the love chapter. I Corinthians 13 … you may have
even had it read at your wedding ceremony.

Verse 4 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  5  It
does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no
record of wrongs.  6  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  7  It
always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8  Love never
fails.”

Let’s break down these descriptors of love and put them in the context of our
marriages:

Love is patient … it has the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering
without getting angry or upset. It is willing to wait … it doesn’t need to get its own
way … I choose to put my wants and needs second …

Love is kind … it generously extends consideration, grace and mercy even when it
is not deserved …

The next five phrases: Love doesn’t envy, boast, it is not proud, it is not self-
seeking … all tell us that real love puts others before ourselves.

Love doesn’t envy … it is not discontented and resentful about who others are or
what they may have.

Doesn’t boast or isn’t proud. Love doesn’t try to build itself up by bragging about
who we are or how much or what we do …

When we tear our spouses down in front of others so that we look better … that’s
dishonoring … and not what love does. This passage tells us that love protects
and believes the best of our spouses.

Love is not easily angered … researchers tell us that most of our anger comes
from our sense of being entitled … we believe we deserve something we are not
getting … so we get angry …

Love doesn’t keep score … it doesn’t try to rationalize that we are better because
we have less offenses on our scoreboards than our spouse does … true love
doesn’t keep score any more than God does.

Hopefully we are catching the theme of this passage that the love God desires us
to display to one another is self-less … and sacrificial … just like Jesus’ love for you
and me.

So, next time you’re feeling like you don’t love your spouse … ask yourself the
question … how am I defining love … selfishly or selflessly?

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