ANTITHESIS OF LOVE.
speak of love, we usually think of hate as being its opposite. No doubt
this is true if we think of it as a negative feeling expressed in a positive
way. However, thinking of it more in a negative sense negatively contained,
we conclude that selfishness is the antithesis of love. True love is unselfish
and reaches out to others. It expresses itself in giving.
This can be seen in the Heavenly Father and in Christ,
the Son of God. John 3:16, that familiar Scripture, reads, "For God so
loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth
in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The Lord Jesus himself
said, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved
you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for
his friends" (John 15:12,13). This is ultimate giving. This is utter unselfishness.
This is love.
This love should be seen in Christians. After all,
we are supposed to be Christ-like. Consequently, John says, "Hereby perceive
we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought
to lay down our lives for the brethren" (I John 3:16). Paul notes in II
Corinthians 5:14 and 15 that being a Christian should result in a life
of unselfishness, "For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus
judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for
all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but
unto him which died for them, and rose again." Ephesians 5:25 accents this
theme, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church,
and gave himself for it." How natural then for Paul to admonish in Galatians
6:2, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."
Unselfishness, that's what love is all about.
But self, that part of us which is basically selfish,
must be crucified and gotten out of the way. Paul declared, "I am crucified
with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and
the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of
God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). The Greek
word for "I" is ego, from which we directly get our word "ego" used
in English. Somewhere we read that the word for "I" is only spelled with
a capital letter in the English language. All of the other languages of
the world spell their word for "I" with a little letter. If this is true,
perhaps it is indicative of the arrogance of the English-speaking people.
Regardless of how this may (or may not) be, in coming to Christ self must
be crucified. Self must be gotten out of the way. Strike a big mark through
the "I" and make a cross out of it. Then make the great declaration of
self-crucifixion that Paul made above (Galatians 2:20) and live accordingly.
It has been said that if we want JOY in our lives,
we should acrostically take the letters of this word "JOY" and do the fol-low-ing
with them. With "J" standing for Jesus, "O" for others and "Y" for yourself,
you should unselfishly put Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last.
In liberating ourselves from self (and selfish-ness), and in experiencing
true love, joy and peace will be ours (by-products of love). (VOL. 35,
NO. 2, 1997)