Thursday, February 7, 2019
18 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. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
Imagine with me a child skipping along between his parents, or a child swinging while holding on to her parents’ hands. See the joy on his face and hear the laughter in her voice. In these moments, love is real, love is pure and there is no fear.
But too often we see another picture, one in which a child cowers in his bedroom while his parents have yet another argument in the next room, with threats of violence. Or a child witnesses her parents passed out from drugs or alcohol and worries – if they don’t wake up to care for her? We see too much the absence of love or love with strings attached. I’ll love you only if … and you fill in the blank. A child tries too hard to be perfect as if that’s the only way he or she will be loved. Or a child lashes out at others because violence and fear is the only home environment he or she knows.
We are imperfect in our love because we are imperfect beings. Yet God’s love is perfect, as God is perfect. We need not fear in loving God, because God has taken away from us any worries about having to deserve God’s love. We don’t have to measure up to some impossible standard, because Jesus has taken all that away in the cross. Instead, we are free to love God and bask in the joy of God’s perfect love.
Thank you, dear God, for loving us, and blessing us to reach out in love to others. Help us model in our daily lives the depth of love you have shown us in Jesus, the love you first gave us before asking us to share it with others. We pray for those who have not known your perfect love, and those whose lives are filled with fear. Let us be a channel of your love, in Jesus’ name. Amen.