When asked about what it would be like before His return, Jesus made this stunning statement to His disciples: “And many will turn away from Me and betray and hate each other… Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:1–12 NLT)
As we look around at the world, it’s not hard to see that sin is running rampant and that it’s not just that the love of many will grow cold, but the love of many is growing cold. The world sins. This should not come as a shock to believers. What is shocking is that Jesus isn’t talking about the world in this passage, but about Christians. The Greek word for “love” used in this passage refers to agape love, which is the love of God shed abroad in our hearts. It is this selfless, sacrificial love, developed in us through the work of the Holy Spirit, that Jesus tells us will grow cold.
The Love of Many Will Grow Cold – But Why?
What could possibly make this love grow cold? Jesus gives us the answer earlier in this passage. He says, “And many will turn away from Me and betray and hate each other.” Why would people do that? Offense. If we are not intentional in dealing with offense and living out God’s love for others by forgiving them as He forgave us, our love will grow cold.
When I was getting my start in ministry, God called me to serve as the youth pastor at one of the most influential churches in the nation. During my time there, I was repeatedly treated very unfairly by a staff member above me. It was obvious he wanted me fired and was doing everything he could to get me removed from my position. This was a man I had respected, and it hurt deeply.
Over time, I let his offense take root in my heart. Because he had treated me so unfairly, I felt justified. Little did I know the bitterness I was holding against him was desensitizing me to the love of God. I wasn’t experiencing His intimate presence like I was used to.