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Love and Fear

“In love there can be no fear, but fear is driven out by perfect love because to fear is to expect punishment, and anyone who is afraid is still imperfect in love.”   I John 4:18

We live in a very volatile time where fearing of our enemies has led many to embrace the belief that the best way to confront violence is with even greater violence. But my understanding of human history and the core teachings of Christ guide my strong conviction that love, not fear, is the right response to the chaos and violence that has become all too commonplace in our world.

Make no mistake, I get it. I understand why people would be afraid to go to work, to the mall, to school, or anywhere in public for that matter. But to the degree that we operate from a place of fear, it will always deplete the energy we have available left to us in order to love. There is simply no room for love and fear to be compatible roommates.

love is greater than fear

And God understands our tendency to be gripped by fear as well, which is why over and over again he invites us in gentleness to let him rid us of our fears and heal us by his love.

So many voices are crying out these days, even people who call themselves Christian, playing on our fears and manipulating us through them. So much rhetoric about arming ourselves and teaching people lessons.

But maybe before we teach those lessons and baptize them as Christian, let’s make sure they line up with the One we say we follow. B/c the God I know, revealed through Jesus Christ, comes to us with “gestures of breathtaking love, hoping to eliminate our fears, not manipulate us through them. And he offers us the one thing in the universe capable of making an otherwise hostile cosmos into a friendly home: His love.” (David Benner)

Love is the antidote to fear. Unfortunately, it is largely untried. As we look to the future, we need to understand that we will only gain the courage we need to face our fears as we open to and soak in the love of God, not as we acquire more weapons and try to teach people hard lessons.

 

 

 

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