There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
I JOHN 4:18 NAS
My children are . . . wonderful. And rotten. Sometimes, when I threaten punishment for some infraction or another, they just giggle. Can you believe that? They laugh at me, their dear mother. They’re not afraid of me at all.
But they do respect me. They do obey me, and they understand that when they don’t, they’ll be punished. So why do they giggle?
Well, probably because of my threats. I’ve threatened to hang them up by their toenails. I’ve threatened to rent them out to the monkey cage at the zoo. I’ve threatened to do all sorts of terrible things which they know will never happen, because I love them. They know that I will punish them when necessary. But they also know I will never hurt them.
Many people view God as a harsh, angry taskmaster who holds a whip and a sword. God is powerful, and sin makes Him angry. But that anger is directed at the one who introduced sin into the world – Satan. God’s love for His children is deeper and more powerful and more eternal than any of us can imagine.
Those of us who have believed in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, have nothing to fear. He is a gentle and loving Father, and has demonstrated that love in unspeakable ways. Although He may discipline us, as any good father will discipline his child, He will always do so in love. We don’t need to be afraid of His plans for us. He loves us with His perfect love, and we can relax and rest in that love, which drives out all fear.
As His love becomes real in our lives, it will spill over to those around us. We will find ourselves being more gentle and caring, as we take on His very nature – love.
Dear Father, Help me to accept Your perfect love, and to share it with others. Amen.