This morning I found myself thinking more about yesterday’s post about looking back at times when our past keeps us from action in the present or future. I think one of the biggest hindrances for almost every single human is remembering times when they were hurt in relationships before. Maybe someone did something that betrayed you, or a loved one died, or someone had to move away. Whether the loss was intentional or not, these situations often keep us from wanting to love again. We’re afraid that if we love again, we’ll just be hurt again and we’re not so sure that’s a risk we want to take.
I’m learning a lot right now in my personal devotion life about the truth that if there is fear involved, then it can’t really be love. See what I mean in 1 John 4:18…
“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.”
As I said, I’m still learning about this and don’t have it CLOSE to being figured out, but I think it actually has something to do with being okay with imperfection in relationships. If we could figure out exactly how to be in relationship with other people, if we could discover a way to take away all the risk, I don’t know if those relationships would be worth it. Isn’t that why God gave us free will in the first place? He loved us so much but if love was forced into this perfect risk-free box, it wouldn’t really be love at all. Despite the risk of us turning our backs on him again and again and again, He desired perfect love, which is messy love and risky love. He wanted real love even if it mean he’d have to die for us.
While there is risk involved, we somehow, by God’s grace, must learn to step past that fear because, as the passage says, “one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Fear and love can’t reside at the same time because if we’re living truly in the love God’s given us, it drives away all fear.
My perfectionistic personality then wants to “figure it out” to “make sure” I’m loving the “right” way. Yet what I hear God saying in this passage and the ones before it is this: Don’t worry about if you’re loving “right” just let me love you and it will all flow out of that. Here is the above passage more in context:
“And so you know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in him. In this way love is made complete among us so that we have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 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.” (1 John 4:16-19)
Love is worth the risk. Not only do we need other people, other people need to see Jesus’ love through us. It’s not about figuring out how to love or if it’s okay to love it’s all about KNOWING and RELYING ON the love God has for us. If we’re drowning in God’s love, we’re going to be okay. If we’re drenched in it, other people will take note. If it’s overflowing in our lives, they’ll get covered in it too.
Perfect love drives out fear.
We love because He first loved us.
We don’t have to figure out how to get rid of that fear on our own, we just have to seek Love Himself and fear will pack its bags and disappear.
Even if we do get hurt again, God’s love… his PERFECT love remains. We can trust in that truth and let our hearts rest in that when fear wants to creep back in.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. … This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.” (1 John 3:16,19-20)