– 1 John 4:18
I love this verse. Speaks volumes to me, especially since I’ve always been one to run from love. I know, right?! I always prayed for love, but deep down, I always was fearful of what would happen when/if I finally found it…. Would I get hurt? Will he cheat on me? What if I hurt him? What if it doesn’t work out? What if I get bored and want out? What if I can never love him? What if he does not love me back? What if things get complicated? What if I’m not pretty enough for him? What if there’s drama? What if he’s too possessive? What if he makes me change? What if he feels intimidated by me? What if he distracts me from God? What if, what if, what if. I must admit I am so tired of asking myself that question, wondering, assuming, guessing, hypothesizing, over thinking. And have you ever noticed that whenever we do wonder and hypothesize and over think, it’s always about the negative things? Why can’t we ask, What if it works out? What if it’s the best decision I make in my life? What if it brings me everything I’ve ever desired and more? What if it’s all worth it? What if we both fall in love? What if it’s the best thing that ever happened in my life? Well, there’s only one way to find out… You will never know if you never try.
All our lives, we are conditioned to think about the negative what ifs. We are taught to follow the rules, to be serious, to plan ahead, to analyze and make an informed decision, to save money for the future (which yeah, I agree it can be good), to think inside the box, to never trust anyone, etc. We are never taught to be creative, to take risks, to make spontaneous decisions, to laugh at the inconveniences, to think outside the box, to go on adventures, to love despite what might happen, to see the good in people and think the best of them, to think for ourselves, to follow our gut, to love the unlovable, etc. We have been raised to always be careful, to keep our distance, to protect ourselves from getting hurt, because getting hurt would just be the worst thing ever. Would it really? For me, I’ve realized that the pain of regret (What if I would’ve taken that chance?) is far greater than the pain of loving someone and then being disappointed by them.
The Bible makes it very clear in the book of Corinthians:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails..” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
And if that, indeed, is what Love is, and God commands us to love everyone, including our enemies, then why are we still so hesitant to follow through? He commands us to love one another and build each other up. He says, love your neighbor as yourself. He says, love your enemies. Your neighbor is anyone you come across with. That person from work who is gossiping and lying about you, that person who backstabbed you, that person who always seeks to bring you down, that person who tries to belittle you.
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” – Matthew 5:44
“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself….” – Matthew 12:31
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
So if the Word of our Lord teaches us to love with no agenda, no boundaries, no limits, why then are we still so afraid to take risks for love?
I believe that if we keep hiding ourselves and building up walls to try to keep others from hurting us because we are afraid of being hurt, it means we haven’t really understood God’s love. God is Love. Love and fear cannot go together, because when you choose to truly love, you’re choosing to let go of your fears and take a leap of faith. Nothing can guarantee that you won’t get hurt, but that’s the beauty of it. Loving no matter what.
Which reminds me of something I read a few weeks ago by A.W. Tozer:
“Love wills the good of all and never wills harm or evil to any. This explains the words of the apostle John: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.” Fear is the painful emotion that arises at the thought that we may be harmed or made to suffer. This fear persists while we are subject to the will of someone who does not desire our well-being. The moment we come under the protection of one of good will, fear is cast out. A child lost in a crowded store is full of fear because it sees the strangers around it as enemies. In its mother’s arms a moment later all the terror subsides. The known good will of the mother casts out fear.
The world is full of enemies, and as long as we are subject to the possibility of harm from these enemies, fear is inevitable. The effort to conquer fear without removing the causes is altogether futile. The heart is wiser than the apostles of tranquillity. As long as we are in the hands of chance, as long as we look for hope to the law of averages, as long as we must trust for survival to our ability to outthink or outmaneuver the enemy, we have every good reason to be afraid. And fear hath torment.
To know that love is of God and to enter into the secret place leaning upon the arm of the Beloved – this and only this can cast out fear. Let a man become convinced that nothing can harm him and instantly for him all fear goes out of the universe. The nervous reflex, the natural revulsion to physical pain may be felt sometimes, but the deep torment of fear is gone forever.
God is love and God is sovereign. His love disposes Him to desire our everlasting welfare and His sovereignty enables Him to secure it. Nothing can hurt a good man. ”
Let us pray together:
Lord, You know our innermost fears. You know all of our doubts, our worries, and our stresses. Help us to realize that there is no fear in Your shelter. Help us to lean on Your arm, Father, and believe with our whole hearts that You are Love, and that there is no fear in Love. Teach us to love with no limitations, and grant us Your peace when we find ourselves being attacked by the enemy. May we become brave and fearless. In Jesus’ holy and powerful name we pray, Amen.
Now go on, go spread the LOVE!