Opposites help us understand the world.
- The opposite of hot is cold.
- The opposite of fast is slow.
- The opposite of big is little.
- The opposite of spicy food is bland, tasteless food that is hardly worth eating.
But what is the opposite of love?
The Opposite of Love
Some might say that the opposite of love is hate. But this is only partially true.
The opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s indifference.
Pressfield’s context is the creative pursuit. When we actually love our work, we feel a Resistance to doing it. The reason is because it matters to us. The more it matters, the more the Resistance.
The scariest thing that can happen to an artist, or anyone for that matter, is not caring. Indifference. Aloofness. Apathy.
We tell ourselves that not hating is just as good as loving, but it isn’t. We swallow the lie because it is easier to live a life of indifference than it is to love.
Even hatred leads to action. But apathy leads to absolutely nothing.
Pressfield’s words apply not only to how we view our lives, but also to how we view people.
What was So Good About the Good Samaritan?
I’m reminded of the story of the Good Samaritan.
In the story, a man was beaten and robbed and left for dead. Two other men, a priest and a rabbi, holy men of God, walked by him. They both saw him, but chose to pass by on the other side.
Maybe they felt sorry for him. Maybe they didn’t. The story doesn’t focus on what they felt, but what they did. Which was nothing.
Then a third man, the good Samaritan, came by. He stopped. He bound up the man’s wounds. He took him to an inn. He fed him. He paid his bill. He met the beaten man’s needs.
This is how we love, by stopping and caring and doing. (Tweet that.)
Do You Love?
All too often we claim we love people, but we don’t do anything for them. They have a need, but we don’t stop and help.
We are too busy. We can’t afford the money. We can’t afford the time. We already helped someone else the other day.
Or we don’t approve of the mess they find themselves in. We call it sin. And since they chose it, it is really their fault they find themselves in such a mess. We fear getting their filth on us.
We tell them that judgment is coming. We demand repentance. And then we pass them on the other side of the road, claiming we don’t hate them.
But that is not enough.
Loving is stopping and helping. It is putting our arms around them, caring for their wounds. It is entering the mess of their lives, side by side, and helping them on their journey. Even if we get dirty. Even if it costs us something.
In fact, true love will always cost us something.
We can’t give ourselves credit for caring if we don’t hate someone. As my friend Bob Goff reminds us in his book, Love Does (affiliate link).
Have you ever experienced this kind of love? Have you loved someone like this?
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