The most damaging instance of “identity theft” is when hate masquerades as love.
I see it all the time, particularly in dating relationships.
A young man “falls in love” with a woman, woos her until he has monopolized her social calendar and then weeks or months later, drops her. Once she has abandoned everything for him, he abandons her. But it was all done in the name of love. His feelings once told him it would never end, so he demanded absolute commitment and focus. But now that the feelings have changed, so apparently has his view of “love.”
A premarital couple I’m working with hit the jackpot when the young man finally said, “Okay, now I get that I’m supposed to care about her relationship with God even more than I care about our relationship with each other.”
Speaking of Jesus, John the Baptist proclaimed that, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). “Hating love” thinks, “I must increase in your life even if He must decrease.” Oswald Chamber puts it bluntly: “If you become a necessity to a soul, you are out of God’s order.”
Our primary aim in every relationship, including marriage and dating, is to point others to Jesus. We should strive to encourage all to seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). If we make ourselves “necessary” to someone, we’re supplanting this order. Making yourself “necessary” to someone you’re not married to is particularly reckless and cruel. It may feel good to be needed, to have someone say, “I could never be happy without you,” but that’s taking the place of God in their life, which is to make you, in one sense, a competitor of Christ.
This is why I urge singles to guard their calendars when romantic feelings are fresh. If you start spending every extra moment together and the relationship doesn’t last, you’ve pulled this person from their friends and their life focus. When the relationship crashes, their life crashes and has to be completely rebuilt. Leaving someone in that condition is like mortgaging their house so you can gamble with their money to get rich. It’s reckless, it’s selfish it’s the opposite of love.
When a married woman uses sex to manipulate or humiliate her husband, that’s “hating love.” That’s taking something precious and using it as an evil weapon. When a married man considers it a betrayal if his wife has any other significant relationships that’s “hating love.” He’s controlling her in the name of preserving some misguided sense of marital loyalty.
Love is always—always—doing what is best for the other person. Not what is best for you. Not what will make them like you or need you or want you. Love is kind, it is patient, it is strong enough to do what is right instead of giving way to the weakness of selfishness or feelings, it is self-sacrificing, it never rejoices in wrongdoing, it doesn’t insist on its own way.
If 1 Corinthians 13 doesn’t describe your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s actions, they’re not loving you—they’re hating you in the name of love. You’ve become the latest victim of the worst form of spiritual identity theft. You’re more likely experiencing mutual manipulation than true, biblical love.
Don’t be fooled by self-interest masquerading as love. Insist on love.