1 John 4:18-19
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.
Fear is like a chain that sets limits on us. It drives wedges into relationships. When we are afraid, we do things to protect ourselves. We may avoid the parts of our lives that frighten us, or distance ourselves from those who might hurt us. Or, we may lash out at others before they can hurt us.
Fear divides people. It is fertile ground for lies and devious speculation. It gives birth to hatred and violence. Things we believe and do in fear, thinking we are protecting ourselves, often lead instead to an even worse situation. The language of fear degrades and dehumanizes the “other” and gives license for all manner of evil.
Jesus Loves me…This is the antidote to fear. John says fear has to do with punishment, and we somehow understand we can never be “good enough” to earn God’s love. Yet God has graciously given us His son, Jesus, to take the punishment for us. Because of this grace, we are free to love. We are called to love as Jesus loved us.
Verse 17 says, “This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.”
When we are like Jesus, His love flows through us, driving out fear and drawing people to Him. Love is not just something we do, it is someone we are.
Loving like this can be difficult, especially if we have been hurt. But we are not alone. We are never alone! What if we take verse 18 and substitute “Jesus” everywhere “love” appears? Then it reads, “There is no fear in Jesus. But Jesus drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in Jesus.” We need not fear because He is always with us.
We just need to remember that He did love us first, so we can love, too. He showed us how to love through His son. He taught us how to love through the Word. He called us to love through our hearts. We simply need to answer that calling, follow the instructions in the Word, and mimic Jesus. Then we will love without fear, because we can rest in His promises.