Thursday, February 28, 2008

Facing Fear and Finding Love



“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts [drives] out fear:

because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.”

(1 John 4:18)


I read how, “During World War I in France a nightingale had its nest

in a tree near the trenches. In the silence between volleys, its song

could be heard. The thunder of the guns would drown it out, but when

they fell silent, the nightingale's glad notes were flung out above the battlefield.

It was singing a love song to its mate, and even in that timid bird love could cast out fear.”


Fear seems to be a trait that many of us struggle with from time to time.

Some struggle with it much of the time. I'm not talking about healthy fear

which is a protective emotion -- such as fearing to put your hand on a hot stove

or driving through a red traffic light. We rightly fear doing such things.

The fear that has torment has its roots in a failure in love -- usually because

one has been hurt deeply in the past by one he loved and trusted, often in early life.


And while it is true that perfect love casts out fear, one could also say that

“imperfect or unhealthy fear” blocks out love! And because It was a lack of love

that caused one to fear being loved, only love can overcome one's fear to love!


We need to come to the point where we can know and feel at a very deep level that God,

the Heavenly Father, loves us no matter what. A vital part of knowing this love for many,

if not most, of us comes through allowing ourselves to become vulnerable to one or two safe people

with whom we are totally open and honest and allow them see the real us -- warts and all.

As they love and accept us, little by little we learn to love and accept ourselves. In so doing

we become more open to both God's and other's love. And when we are able to experience

this unconditional or perfect love, little by little our fear of loving is overcome.


Indeed, perfect love does cast out fear! Remember, too, that for most of us it is a process

and not just a “quickie” event!


Suggested prayer: “Dear God, thank you that you love and accept me just as I am.

Please help me to know and experience your perfect love at a very deep level so that I

will not be afraid to fully live and fully love. Gratefully in Jesus' name. Amen.”

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