A long time ago I was sitting in a class at Regent College taught by Clark Pinnock. He was then, and I assume now, a pacifist. My contrarian mind came up with a scenario. What if I came upon him being mugged in downtown Vancouver and I called out to him, “I love you Clark but I can’t help you because I am a pacifist.” Continuing the train of thought, I assumed that the thing that would come to his mind would most likely be obscene and, of course, my professed love for him would be an abomination if I refused to come to his assistance in a dire situation.
In general to profess love for someone but to refuse to help them in their need is to turn love into something else. James, brother of Jesus, wrote about people who offered good wishes to people needing food, clothing and shelter (James 2:15-16). He did not indicate the response of those so “blessed.” It may not have been appropriate for Scripture, even though there are strong condemnations of self-centered behavior elsewhere.
In our own time there are people who think that tolerance of self-destructive behavior is a form of love and those who seek to stem that behavior are “haters.” What they may hear from the victims of their unlove is, “Why did you allow me to do those things?” I suspect there will be few who will answer truly, “We did it because it was in our own self-interest to not oppose your choices” just as it was in my hypothetical situation when I refused to risk physical harm for the sake of one I claimed to love.