When our children were young I was terrified of flying. Flying never bothered me before I had children but after that, the very thought of it would create great mental worry and sometimes physical discomfort. As they grew up, that fear lessened to the point where it’s no longer an issue for me.
Fear, however, is. Again, it has changed over the years but it’s always lurking about. Fear of childhood issues have become fears for my children. Fear of the unknown seems ever-present for most people.
A couple of years ago I heard this statement in a sermon: Hate is not the opposite of love, fear is. Fear the opposite of love? Yes, yes. That’s it. In my life that is true. It’s not hate but fear. Fear of those different from me. Fear of stepping out in faith. Fear my children will suffer tragedy. Fear those I’ve grown close to will relapse and fear for the day my mom won’t know any of us.
If I allow this fear it gives no room for love. “Perfect love casts out fear.”
Perfect love? What love is that? My love has been imperfect, is imperfect as I am imperfect and see no hope of reaching perfection in this mortal life. My love has expectations. My love is fragile, fickle. I don’t know how to accept the perfect love given me. Too often I think I need to be good before I can accept anyone’s love.
If fear is the opposite of love then it is also self-imprisonment because love is freedom and freeing.
I don’t think the Beatles were trying to be theological but their line, “All you need is love” is theologically sound. The greatest commandment is to love God above all else and then to love our neighbor. If we can do those two we will have done all the others. That’s how powerful love is.
“God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect….
18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear.” 1 John 4:17,18 NLT
Yes, fear is the opposite of love and I choose love. My choice is to keep trying. To live more in God so the love I know can grow more like His love. I’m a miserable failure at it but I want to love like him. It takes so much more than wanting.