When it comes to faith, hope, and love, people often worry about the opposites of faith, hope, and love. They worry about doubt, despair, and hate.
The only problem is those aren’t their opposites. They’re something else entirely.
The Importance of Faith, Hope, and Love
We all need faith, hope, and love. After all, what’s the drive to do anything if we don’t believe it will improve our lives in some way?
And what is life without love? The connection we have with others to care for and nurture each other, to value them and be valued by them; it’s hard to imagine living in a world without experiencing that.
This is why the opposites of faith, hope, and love are so devastating. The problem is the opposites are not what you think. If you’re not careful, you can fall into their trap.
The Opposite of Love
We often think of the opposite of love as hate. After all, if we love someone and want to be with them, hating to be around them seems to logically be its opposite.
Actually, hate shows some sort of connection. It shows that you are drawn to that person. It shows that you want some sort of validation from that person which you aren’t getting and it makes you angry.
In fact the opposite of love is apathy. It’s the complete indifference to someone. It’s having no concern or connection. When we think about the opposites of faith, hope, and love, it’s the most concerning, but not the only one.
The Opposite of Faith
Faith is not knowing something but believing it anyway. We often think of the opposite of it as being doubt – not knowing and not believing. But Anne Lamont had a different perspective.
She said that the opposite of faith isn’t doubt, but certainty. See in both the case of faith and doubt there is an unknown and the possibility that something may be true. With certainty, however, we no longer need to consider all the possibilities and exercise our decision making abilities.
Instead, we operate with a cocky arrogance. We don’t have to reevaluate our thinking. We don’t have to wonder if we’re headed down the wrong path and make adjustments as needed. We simply steamroll our way forward, fallout be damned.
The Opposite of Hope
When we don’t have, we hope. When we are in desperate need, we hope. Hope is the fuel that keeps us going when we don’t have what we need.
We like to think that the opposite of hope is despair, but hope and despair are related. They both know that something is lacking and both desire it.
The opposite of hope is entitlement. It’s when you have no need to worry because you believe you deserve it all and you always get what you want. There is no concern that you will be lacking, because you deserve anything your heart desires.
It’s this opposite and its cousins that make living life dangerous if you fall into their trap. Here’s why.
The Dangers of Opposites of Faith, Hope, and Love
All of these opposites are related. They show a lack of concern for others. Apathy means that you just don’t care. Certainty shows that you can’t relate to those who struggle. Entitlement takes when others don’t have.
There are times we think these might be good things:
- Avoiding listening to others struggles because we want to stay positive.
- Being sure of ourselves instead of a perpetual reevaluation of moral understanding.
- Receiving the rewards for our efforts instead of considering those who don’t.
The truth is that all of these opposites of faith, hope, and love are traps that keep us from connecting, caring for, and encouraging people that need it. The beauty of it is that we know the antidote:
Faith. Hope. Love.
Today is a great day to practice them all.