This morning I came across a blog that really hit home to me. It was kind of perfect timing. I have been trying to put words to some prayers for my attitude and how I approach people and situations. This blog post hit it on the head.
The name of the post is called, “The Opposite of Love Isn’t Hate.” It really caught my attention, so I gave it a read. I am so glad I did. I know that the Spirit totally set this one up, because this story doesn’t end here. But before I get to the rest of the story, let me finish talking about what I read.
I can sum up the post in one statement from it, Hate is not the opposite of love, fear is.” I had to get my mind around this. The more I read, the more this made sense. The tumblers started to fall into place in my head. This is so true. Fear really is the antagonist of love. Debby went on to explain:
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.
I can so relate to this. When my son was born, I became even more paranoid about everything, I can still be two and a half years later. I found ways to micromanage everything. I was, and can still be, so afraid of anything happening to him. I am starting to see that this fear can get in the way of loving him and allowing him to grow and mature.
This fear can show itself in other ways, too. I grew up moving a lot, so I learned at an early age not to form deep friendships. This has led to a fear of losing friends or getting my feelings hurt by others that sticks with me even now. I have a fear of allowing people too close to me. That fear was overcome a good bit when I met my wife, but it still makes me distant from friends sometimes.
Even more so, this fear can keep me from growing in my relationship to God. We are called to two commandments, to love God and love others. When I am afraid of what could happen, I put a wall between myself, God, and others. I am afraid of letting go and dying to myself. I am afraid of what people will think. I am afraid of completely trusting in the acceptance of God that comes through the work of Jesus Christ. This fear stunts my spiritual growth.
1 John 4 holds the answer to the fear. Love is the opposite. Fear can keep us from love, but love can keep us from fear. Only love breaking through to our hearts and mind can defeat our fear and allow us to love.
John wrote in verses 16-19 (NLT):
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each otherbecause he loved us first.
“Such love has no fear, because PERFECT love expels all fear.” This is so awesome. Because we have been loved perfectly, we do not have to be afraid. Abiding in this love will allow us to overcome the fear. We will be able to love!
So…this was on my heart as I drove to work this morning. I can be a bit ADD with what I listen to (or don’t listen to) in the car. Lately I have wanted to listen to music, but Christian radio can get repetative so sometimes I just put on a random station. Today was a light rock station. A song came on that I have always kind of liked when I have heard it. It is by Pink. As the song played, the Spirit brought these ideas back to mind and took them a little further.
Now, as a little disclaimer, I had no idea that I have been only hearing the edited version. I went to look up the song to write this blog post. It turns out that the song, which I thought was called “Perfect,” is actually named “F**ing Perfect.” I had no idea. I am sorry, if this offends you. Just know I have only heard the edited version. Any way, the song still totally spoke to me and the Spirit drove the message home (yes, through this potentially offensive song).
The part that spoke to me was the chorus:
Pretty, pretty please
Don’t you ever, ever feel
Like your less than
Less than perfect
Pretty, pretty please
If you ever, ever feel
Like your nothing
You are perfect to me
The message that came to mind is that it is my fear of not being accepted by God because of my sins is the overwhelming fear that holds be back from loving Him and loving others. The thing is, if that I truly believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again, I am accepted by God. I am free to love. I am free to serve. I am free to obey. I do not have to fear the wrath I know I deserve. Through Jesus, in terms of the eternal consequences of sin, I am perfect in the eyes of the Father. The passage from 1 John says, “So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.” This sentence leads directly into the statement that “perfect love drives out fear.” Our acceptance is the love that shines like a light on our fear and makes it run away like darkness!
How awesome is this! We are perfect in his eyes. This perfect love is the antithesis of fear. We can live love because he loves us! Halellujah, what a Savior?
Do you see how fear keeps us from loving? How can the perfect love of Jesus change you and allow you to love without fear?