God is love; therefore, the opposite of love must be the opposite of God.
Many people believe that hate is the opposite of love, but in reality, hate is very often love that is infected by anger and resentment, both of which are the result of fear. So hate is fear-based love that cannot trust, cannot forgive. It is not the opposite of love, but the perversion of love — love that has become twisted and maligned by fear.
For a long time I thought that apathy was the opposite of love. Hate can become love again if the fear can be removed, but apathy is a lack of feeling. The case for apathy being the opposite of love only works for me if we reduce love to a “feeling” and not an “orientation” or an action. Love is not in the feeling of love but in the action of love. I can still perform the works of love even when I do not feel like it, and in fact, that makes my works of love more loving because I am sacrificing my feelings or lack of feeling for the work of love. Granted, it is easier to love people and things when I feel love for them, but the feeling is not required for the work, which is love, to occur.
I am sometimes a slow learner, and the result of that is that it has taken me many years and many degrees to realize that the opposite of love is fear. The Bible says this; though maybe not clear enough for someone like me to catch the first hundred times I’ve read it.
We all understand that darkness is the opposite of light. The two cannot exist at the same time. There is either light, or there is no light. Once there is light, darkness is destroyed. The tiniest of lights can illumine the darkest of rooms. So light casts out darkness.
The Bible says that love casts out fear. If the opposite of light is cast out by light, then the opposite of love must be cast out by love, and love casts out fear — perfected love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18). What is perfected love? God! God is love; God is perfect; therefore, God is perfected love. And if we are in Christ, who is the embodiment of God, then that perfected love of God (which is God) is in us; therefore, perfected love is in us, which means we have the power to cast out fear.
So, if God is love, and fear is the opposite of love, then fear is from the devil. Whenever I hear that voice of fear talking to me, saying whatever it says, “you can’t do that”; “You’ll fail”; “You’ll look stupid”; “You are unworthy”; or any other fear-based thought or feeling that is contradicted by the reality that God is love, and that God loves you as if you were the only person ever to have existed.
Fear is the opposite of love because fear has the ability to stop the work of love from being done — even if you feel the “feeling” of love. How many times have you felt love for someone and wanted to do something for that person, but stopped yourself because you were afraid?” The fear that stops love is the idea that if you give what you have to another who has nothing, then you will not have enough for yourself — regardless of whatever that thing is (money, time, clothes, food, compassion, medicine, kindness). Fear stops the work of love, which is the proof of love; fear perverts the feeling of love into something other than love (hate, resentment, etc.); fear convinces us that it is better for us to just not feel at all because feeling puts us in positions in which we get hurt. That is fear — the opposite of love.
So how do we combat fear? We love! We cannot talk ourselves out of fear. We cannot think ourselves out of fear. In fact, the more we try to talk and think ourselves out of fear, the more we empower the fear. WE CAN ONLY LOVE OUR WAY OUT OF FEAR!
If you are afraid to give something to someone who is in need, then give twice as much! Nothing will irk the devil more than seeing you take his attack and using it for more of what he is trying to stop you from doing in the first place. The best way to get the devil to leave you alone is by doing more of the opposite of the attack. Remember, the devil does not want you doing the work of love, and the devil does that by making you afraid to do it, and as long as you fall for it, the devil will always be there to attack you whenever you try to do something good. But if you say not to the fear, and do twice as much as you were planning to do before the fear set in, then the devil will start to leave you alone because he’ll realize attacking you brings about twice as much of what he is trying to stop you from doing in the first place. Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7); resist fear and the devil will flee!
The Old Testament passage that is quoted the most in the New Testament is “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The command that is issued the most in the New Testament is “Do not be afraid!” These two commands (love your neighbor and do not be afraid) go together because love casts out fear, and the perfected love of God casts out all fear.
Love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength (with every fiber of your being), and love your neighbor as yourself. These are the two most important commandments according to Jesus. Love and do not be afraid and you will keep all the law that is meant to be kept and you will prepare yourself for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.