Love & Hate
Love is the opinion that another life should stay alive (John 3:16), while hate is prolonged anger (Matthew 5:21-22), similar to hostility and enmity. Love is the most important thing God wants us to do (Mark 12:29,30-31) because it keeps societies from fighting (Colossians 3:14). Learn to love your enemies (Luke 6:27) because God loved you first (I John 4:19), even though we are self-centered sinners (Romans 5:8).
All Christians believe in love.
Hate is the feeling of antagonism.
Hate is that feeling of negativity towards a person or group (Proverbs 10:12) that makes it seem like you are against them instead of the devil (Ephesians 6:12). Hate is a tactic used by Satan to cause 2 groups who support good things, such as Protestants and Catholics or Republicans and Democrats, to turn on each other (Proverbs 6:19). Ultimately, hate makes you feel like the hero while the enemy is the villain (Matthew 5:43), but God realizes that even the evilest should have blessings (Matthew 5:45).
Hate is desiring to kill.
Most people will say they wouldn’t kill anyone, but if they feel even a slight bit of resentment or prolonged anger towards someone, it’s almost the same as murder (Matthew 5:21-22), because it leads to it (James 4:1-2). So many of us say we love God, yet if you don’t even talk to someone in your own family or a fellow Christian who hurt you, you’re lying to yourself (I John 4:20).
Hate is caused by excess tribalism.
Hate forms when we spend too much time with like-minded people so that their approval and love overrides a desire to do the right thing for those considered outsiders (John 12:42-43). One of the best examples of this is that secretly Peter would show love to the Gentiles, but when his Jewish tribe came over, his fear of them caused him to shun the Gentiles (Galatians 2:12). Unfortunately, the worst thing about tribalism is that it causes everyone else to follow along with the tribe’s groupthink (Galatians 2:13). The only way to break excess tribalism is through an honest and stern rebuke (Galatians 2:14).
What is Love
Love is desiring that another life should thrive.
Love is the opinion that another life should stay alive (John 3:16) and that he should have the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23; I John 4:12-13). Love is forgiving all sins (Luke 7:47; I Peter 4:8) and reconciling a broken relationship (Romans 5:8,10) with every enemy (Luke 6:27), even with those who hate you (Luke 6:32). This may sound hard, but remember that God loved you first (I John 4:19). Real love is only possible with Jesus Christ (I John 4:7).
Love is the Greatest Commandment.
The most important commandment God gave humanity is to love Him and our neighbors (Mark 12:29,30-31). We must love God with all of our heart’s emotions (who: Acts 4:32), soul’s purpose (why: John 12:27), mind’s intelligence (what: I Corinthians 1:10), and strength’s power (how: I Corinthians 12:4-6). Our neighbor is not someone who is deemed trustworthy by society (Luke 10:31) but anyone who shows us mercy (Luke 10:36-37). If we fulfilled these 2 laws, it’d be like fulfilling every command in the Bible (Matthew 22:40). Jesus also equates the 2 Greatest Commandments with the Golden Rule: “do to others as you would want them to do to you” (Matthew 7:12).
Love is selfless.
The sinful mind thinks love is doing what we think is best for others, but it’s arrogant and prideful to assume we know best (I Corinthians 8:2). Really, love is kind and patient to the needs of others. Love doesn’t get envious of others or boast in one’s accomplishments (I Corinthians 13:4). Love doesn’t rudely or arrogantly insist that his way is right. It also doesn’t feel irritated or resentful when something doesn’t go his way (I Corinthians 13:4-5; Proverbs 18:2). Love never rejoices when an enemy experiences evil yet always rejoices when the truth is understood (I Corinthians 13:6). Love bears with ignorance, believes the best in people, hopes for perfection, and endures all pain (I Corinthians 13:7)
Love is the strongest force in the universe.
Many seek money or power, but real influence is found in love. No amount of supernatural power, knowledge, or sacrifice can compare with love (I Corinthians 13:1-3). All forms of power will eventually be overshadowed by something greater, like how the glory of the horse and buggy was replaced with the glory of the car, but love is eternal (I Corinthians 13:8). Ultimately, love is the greatest concept in the universe (I Corinthians 13:13) and is the very essence of our perfect God (I John 4:7-8).
Love is fulfilling all of God’s laws.
Ultimately, love is about not wronging other people in society (Romans 13:10), as this is the only force that can keep any society together (Colossians 3:14). If you perfectly love, you actually fulfill every law in the Bible (Galatians 5:14), but this isn’t easy to do (James 2:8-9). Love is about trying to keep every commandment (John 14:21).
There are 4 types of love.
In the New Testament, you’ll see 3 different translations of love, and a 4th not used in the Bible. Agape is the self-sacrificial love of God, philia is the love between friends, eros is the sexual love of partners, and storge (not used in the Bible) for that love between a parent and child. An example of this is Jesus asking Peter if he agapes Him, but Peter responds that he only feels philia towards Jesus (John 21:15). So, Jesus asked him twice more, and he eventually says he feels agape (John 21:17).
How to Love
Making sacrifices is nothing compared to love.
Many fathers think sacrificing their life to earn money is loving, but God desires steadfast love (Hosea 6:6; Mark 12:33). Almost any neglected child would tell you that he wishes his parents were around more, not that they’d make more money. The same is true for any sacrifice we make; in the end, it means nothing to a God that can speak a world into existence (Genesis 1:1). God is not seeking your work; He’s seeking for worshippers that obey the truth (John 4:23).
Love is equating another as yourself.
Some say love is about putting others above ourselves, but Jesus said to “love our neighbor as ourself” (Mark 12:31; Ephesians 5:33). When you love someone more than yourself, you admit that the person is not yourself. That person then becomes an idol, like the “love” of a jealous boyfriend or girlfriend (Exodus 20:3). God instead has called 2 to become 1 person (Genesis 2:24) because this represents the mystery of our wedding with Jesus (Ephesians 5:31-32). Jesus loves us as much as Himself (Ephesians 5:28-29), not any greater or any less, because we are His body (Ephesians 5:30), and no body part is loved any more or any less (I Corinthians 12:23-25). Read more about practically balancing love…
Greeting everyone is the pinnacle of love.
“Greeting” is used 93 times in the New Testament, and is the 2nd to last command of Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:47), right before He said to be perfect (Matthew 5:48). Back in Jesus’ time, greeting carried a lot of weight; it was common to kiss each other as a sign of affection (I Thessalonians 5:26). It was so important to greet people by name (III John 1:15) that Jesus said to not pride yourself in them (Mark 12:38) and to not waste time with them (Luke 10:4) when you are working for God (Luke 10:2). Greeting means never ignoring anyone: the poor and disrespected (Luke 14:13-14) and especially those who hate you (Luke 6:27).