Saturday, June 12, 2010

Love and Fear

The following paragraphs by David Paul Dorr are so good that I have to quote them in full.
The only way we can get rid of fear is to love. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.”

And fear, in and of itself, is a good thing. At best, fear alerts us to danger so we can avoid harm. But that is not how most of us experience fear.

For most of us it is the low-grade anxiety that what we have will be taken away, or what we want will never come to fruition. Do you see how this is the opposite of love? Fear flows from our concentration on the things we think are best for us, but love flows from our concentration on the things that are best for other people.

This is why military personnel can achieve such feats of bravery. When their comrade gets wounded in battle, the military men and women risk life and limb in order to rescue them. They instinctively know that their fellow soldier’s need is more important than their life. Love has driven out fear.

And really we can see all sin as a failure to love. To steal, which brings on fear of punishment, is to take for ourselves what is rightfully another’s (This is particularly true of illegally downloading music. We fail to desire what is best for the companies that distribute music). To lust is to make another person an object of our desire instead of a person made in the image of God that deserves respect.

So to break the power of fear and sin in our lives, the only antidote is love. But as John points out, we can only love completely when we know that Jesus Christ, because He first loved us, experienced the ultimate terror, the wrath of God, so that we can be free from our fearful self-concern.