No Fear in Love

Text: 1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. (NRSV)

I have no memory of being spanked as a child growing up.  Although I never had a conversation with either my mom or my dad about this subject, I don’t think my parents believed in corporal punishment.  However, even though I was not subjected to physical punishment, when I did something I knew was wrong, my stomach would get tied up in knots and I would begin to be filled with fear because there was nothing worse than the disappointed look on my parents face when they discovered my misbehavior.

I think about the too many times I disappointed my parents by my actions or words when I read this text from 1 John.  I realize that the things I did that disappointed my parents were acts that were anything but loving.  The acts that disappointed my parents and caused me to fear their finding out, were usually acts of selfishness, anger, or jealousy.

There is a saying about “the sleep of the innocent” that also comes to mind when I read this text from 1 John.  Those who live out of God’s love in this world can peacefully lay their heads down at night and sleep deeply.  Their minds are not filled with fears of what will happen tomorrow or what the future consequences for today’s actions will be.  There is no whelming fear of future interactions with others you have crossed by acting towards them in unloving ways.  When you live out of the love of God, all these kinds of fear disappear.

I think this is what John is saying to us.  When we live out of God’s love in every situation in which we find ourselves, there is nothing for us to fear.  The consequences of loving others like God loves us, never leads to punishment or broken relationships.  Living out of God’s love for us always brings healing and reconciliation.  There truly is no fear in love.

Pray with me:

God of love and God of healing continue to fill me with your love that I might live out of that love in all that I say and do.  AMEN.

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