"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."
(1 John 4:18)
(1 John 4:18)
The book of 1st John talks a lot about love. A lot! The basic premise is this: "God is love. God loves us. We show our love for God by loving others." That's the main theme... and the writer spins off variations on that theme, too. Including the statement that "there is no fear in love."
This is interesting in light of that famous bible verse: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Prov. 1:7). Is this a contradiction to 1 John 4:18? I don't think so. I think "the fear of the Lord" in Proverbs is dealing more with "reverence," "awe," and "respect"... while 1 John 4:18 is talking about actual fear - being afraid of punishment & retribution. The author of 1 John reminds us over and over that God is about love, forgiveness and grace. That He wants the very best for us, so we need not be afraid of God.
But I also feel compelled to make a jump into our relationship with others. We show our love for God by how we love others... so there should be NO loving relationships that are motivated by fear. True love does not threaten, coerce, or manipulate. That's not love. If you're in a relationship like that... if you're using power & influence over another to keep them in a "loving relationship" out of fear - it's NOT a loving relationship. There is so much more to true love.
God knows our weaknesses. God still loves us... and calls us into that life-giving love relationship. Have no fear! AMEN.