We have all heard the saying “there is a thin line between love and hate”. Indeed, love and hate are just one step apart. If you love someone very much, then it is possible that you will hate them just as strongly. It is a bit scary, but it is the nature of human relationships. In order to avoid emotional extremes, the main thrust of love must be channelled only towards God.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your understanding”, (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27).
Let us examine potential consequences of having the wrong values and priorities.
- Excessive love for a person leads to the loss of one’s own personality or identity.
You must not love someone to the extent where you forget about yourself. You must always remain a personality: a complete and self-sufficient personality. Sooner or later your eyes will become opened to see the vanity of this sacrifice and your ardent love will be replaced by complaints, offence, and bitterness.
- You must not stop using your head when loving someone.
When we love a person more than we do God, we think about them more than we do about God; we idolise and exalt them. By doing that we put both them and ourselves “in the line of fire”. The opposite is also true: when we live by the Word and love God above all, He protects us, what we do, and the people who are close to us.
- Excessive love for a person leads to indifference on their part.
“The more a woman bestows mercies upon a man, the more she loves him and the less he loves her”, Jean de La Bruyere, a French moralist.
This is not limited to relationships between men and women, but also occurs between parents and children. If a parent idolises their child, then he/she begins to think that their parent is trying to control him/her. Therefore, the child gets offended and starts looking for an opportunity to break free, avoids the parents in search of his/her personal space, begins to disrespect the parents, and gets irritated. Uncontrolled annoyance is the first step towards hatred. Excessive love blinds and prevents one from understanding and showing true love, which corrects, disciplines, and forms the “spine”, the core of human character.
“For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:12);
“For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives” (Hebrews 12:6).
Emotional human love is all about overprotection, and so, it is destructive.
For example, a mother believes that to love her child means to gratify their whim sand naughtiness, spoil them and protect them from all challenges. Such parents do not apply educational punishment and do not teach their children discipline. In the name of this so-called love, the mother is destroying her child’s future, as it is going to be tough for them to face real-life challenges and become a fulfilled person. Because of the habitual “anything goes” mentality, that person is unable to control their desires and so ends up leading an idle, purposeless lifestyle, which often results in drugs. The person remains infantile, gets married with no preparation, and may even get involved in crime. Prior to this there would have come a point where the parents could not take it anymore and would have thrown their unrestrained offspring out of the house.
- Impractical expectations.
If we love a person more than we do God, then consciously or unconsciously we begin to demand things from them. When the person does not meet our expectations, then anger, discontent, and complaints supersede what we used to call love.
There are no perfect people. When we understand that, there will be few reasons for disappointment.
“To avoid false expectations from human nature, we must first give up our illusions about it: learn to accept people the way they are. There are no perfect human beings. Good persons can be found, yet these very same people can at times be selfish, angry, or depressed”, A. Maslow, an American psychologist.
- Pain caused by imperfection gives way to hatred.
A human being always remains a human being, with all their weaknesses and shortcomings. Therefore, if we adore someone too much, then their failures will turn into thorns, which can cause us unbearable pain and sore wounds. We must prepare ourselves for thoughtful and balanced relationships among each other. It will allow us to endure, reconcile, put up with and forgive the mistakes and shortcomings of others, maintain the right feelings, and preserve the relationships.
- Excessive love leads to idolising a person.
When we love a person too much, we begin to idolise them, make them a god, expect them to be perfect in everything, forgetting that God will not share His glory with anyone. God will allow things to happen until people get disappointed and understand that a human being will remain a human being irrespective of titles, ranks, and positions.
- Excessive love leads to a curse.
“Thus says that Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord”, (Jeremiah 17:5).
God allows a curse if we give all our attention to a person and rely too much on them.
- Excessive love for a person burdens them.
When we love someone too much, focusing only on their personality, we place an intolerable burden on them and cause them stress. If the person does not cope with something, we start accusing them. When we accuse a human being we are accusing God, Who gave His life for each of us. No matter how talented, diligent, and prompt a person is, there are things that only God is able to do.
PSYCHOLOGICALLY WE MUST BE PREPARED FOR THE WORST; we must consider the worst-case scenario and concede that a human being may sin or make a mistake. We must be able to show mercy and forgiveness.
The nature of human beings is sinful, therefore God placed the “Lord’s prayer” in the Bible, in which we ask Him not to lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (Matt. 6:13, Luke 11:4). If someone started drinking or smoking, it is not because they wanted to do so, but because the weakness of their flesh manifested or some problems and temptations came, which they could not overcome. We must always pray that God would be in control of our desires, motives, and intentions as opposed to being controlled by human emotions, feelings and reasoning.
- Excessive love makes us vulnerable.
When we love someone too much, then any action from their side; unfaithfulness, the decision to leave the family, or irresponsible indifferent behaviour, can cause us bitter pain.
- Sensual ties lead to hatred.
Love turns to hatred when there are sensual ties. A strong affection for a person. Sensual ties are not from God.
“This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic”, (James 3:15).
- Possessive love leads to hatred.
Love turns to hatred when possessive love is present at the point of marriage, or when we have children for our own sake. We must not see our children or our spouse as our possession.
God put a sense of dominion and leadership in each of us not to suppress the interests, desires, and freedom of other persons, but to overcome ourselves, to overcome the wrongs and sins inour world.
“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth”.
- Fear leads to hatred.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love”, (1 John 4:18).
Love turns into hatred because of uncontrollable fear to lose a loved one. Such fear causes unreasonable pretentions, control, and inadequate reactions. Whatever a person fears to lose, they most certainly will lose: “for the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me”, (Job 3:25). If love dies, it turns to hatred.
God does not permit excessive love for a human being:“Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?” (James 4:5).
WE MUST BE JESUS FREAKS, NOT PEOPLE FREAKS.
I recommend studying the following literature to research this topic deeper:
“The impossible is possible”, “Conflicts: causes, consequences, and how to avoid them” by Sunday Adelaja.
God is love. I wish that you experience this feeling only!
The Senior Pastor of the Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations,
Translated by Kateryna Chindove
Edited by Kizito Leacock
Cambridge and Oxford Publishing House