The opposite to love is not hate. It is indifference. Love and hate, though opposite poles in the spectrum of emotions have something in common: and that is passion. Love and hate both care – even though with different intentions. Taking passion out of the equation, we’ll experience the lukewarm approach to life that Jesus so despised. Passion is a state of being awake while indifference is a state of being asleep; true passion never stops, if anything, it grows. On that note, in the book of Proverbs we find the following wisdom statement (Proverbs 30:15-16):
“There are two things never satisfied, like a leech forever craving more: no three things! No, four! Hell, the barren womb, a barren desert, fire.”
Passion does not stop with just two illustrations, but expands to three, then to four – to rub it in what passion is all about: Hell never feels overpopulated, a barren womb always craves babies, a barren desert always craves water, and fire always craves more fuel. As we can see, all four examples are eternally hungry for more and never reach a state of complete satisfaction. Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is the famous rock tune by the Rolling Stones “I can get no satisfaction”; and being in a perpetuate state of dissatisfaction may seem undesirable, but as it turns out, it just depends on the attitude and outlook on life, and dissatisfaction could actually work to our advantage. It’s dissatisfaction with a bad situation (fill in the blanks) that lets us try different avenues to usher a much-needed change. Love never sits down and says: that’s it – I’ve loved enough. Love grows mature to manifest itself in even more intricate ways. To that effect we read in the same chapter of the book of Proverbs (Proverbs 30:18-19):
“There are three things too wonderful for me to understand – no, four! How an eagle glides through the sky. How a serpent crawls upon a rock. How a ship finds its way across the heaving ocean. The growth of love between a man and a girl.”
Love may not be the opposite to hate, but it is the adequate answer to hate. If fire meets fire in a wildfire situation, the fire will die down. Counter fires are used for damage control. In the same way we almost always see an outpouring of love in the aftermath of catastrophic events. Think about the heroes born on 9/11. The most recent bad news transpiring from Las Vegas is another reminder that human-kindness is not completely dead. The shocking mass shooting during an open air concert led to countless acts of heroism. It makes me tear up seeing how people are scrambling to help in the wake of this horrible disaster. The ugly side of humanity seems to wake up the sleeping giant of indifference and gets us engaged. We come together, and we pull our resources. That’s what we do – and this gives me reason to hope. No matter how bad it gets, love is the first responder. Love chips in. Love comes up with unusual solutions in answer to a crisis. Love reaches out. Love shares burdens. Love heals.
Love is never satisfied with the status quo. Love will make things better because it never gives up, neither does God, neither do we.
“When you’re weary, feeling small, when tears are in your eyes I will dry them all. I’m on your side when times get rough …like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down.” (Paul Simon)