If the opposite of up is down, and the opposite of right is left, then the opposite of love is hate, right?
Not so fast.
The opposite of love is NOT hate. Why? Because with the word Love, people have feelings and think about another person. And with hate, it is same with different intentions. So the opposite of love is apathy. Which is actually feelings-free.
So many opt for the opposite of love. I don’t think it’s always by intention. It’s just that’s it’s easier. Easier because you don’t have to participate or get involved in the things that matter. Easier because there are some people that just don’t deserve the effort.
Do you know anyone like that? Sure you do. We all do. So do your kids. There are bullies out there. There are people that don’t deserve the effort, especially because “those” people will never come back and affirm you or give you the kudos you need and deserve.
But Jesus said some totally radical things about this like, “Love your enemies.”
Now that is radical. How in the world could you, much less your kids, love your enemy? Especially if someone is bullying you, speaking badly about you, just being an enemy. Here’s the key: we always associate loving someone with warm, fuzzy emotions.
If I’m to love someone, I have to have this feeling of love. No feeling, no love… right? No. The love Jesus was talking about had to do with choice and action, not feeling or emotion. After all, how could you have a loosey-goosey feeling toward someone who just spit on you? Or just hurt you? It doesn’t happen.
But I can choose to act in a way that demonstrates love, even when I don’t feel it. Choosing that activity could be the hardest thing you ever do and to top it off, it just might never get resolved. The bully might never come back to you and say thank you. So what do you do?
You chose love. Your kids may be the object of bullying, so what do you do? You protect them first. You do what you can to eliminate the situation. You go to teachers, friends, small group leaders, etc., who can help the situation. You get involved with your kids. You love them and affirm them and talk to them and understand them. You cry with them, you protect them, you give them a glimpse of a positive future, and you teach them the big picture.
My kids dealt with this. One school kid spit on one of my kids. I was ready to call out the National Guard. I let my kids know that. We talked with the teacher. It got better, but it didn’t go away. It wasn’t resolved. My kids lived through it, experiencing some pain, but they chose to pray for the bully and to move past it.
They did it with difficulty. It wasn’t fair. But they chose love, and most of the time… they chose God’s love.
By the way, there are still bullies out there… even as adults.
What are you going to do?
What are they going to do?
What would Jesus do?