It lurks in the darkness, creeps along the edgings of panes, dangles just out of sight and reach. Yet, the sensitive follicles of our largest organ detect it first and raise a silent alarm. Our olfactory cilia smell it. Swallowing down any unpalatable bile, we pray no one else hears the rapid pulsing in our ears. We remain very, very still.
We hope whatever it is will go away and leave us alone, not understanding what our senses already know. It entered our chambers long ago. This seductive bed-fellow has been whispering comforting lies about how to fight what could be coming to get us even as it has been holding us in its sinister grasp.
We buy into it, find a bit of thrill in it, like to throw it in the faces of others for a laugh. But, the truth is that fear isn’t funny. In the wrong hands, fear is a cruel, sinister tool.
What is fear?
The Greek word phobos means terror or reverence. The second definition basically means a healthy respect for an authority or loved one. But terror? That’s an unwelcome guest in any relationship.
It signals an invasion on our well-being. Proverbially overacting to our own sensitivities, we relegate ourselves to our own corners. Or worse, we wield whatever weapons are available, swinging madly in the dark not caring what gets broken or who else sustains injury. If only we would have enough courage to reach over and do one simple thing.
Flip on the light.
The love described in these verses is agape or agapao. This love does not rely on conditions to exist. Nothing stops this love. The problem with this kind of love is that it’s difficult to find. Sometimes this love is difficult to accept because it can’t be earned and is rarely deserved. To expect this kind of love from others is often a punishment in itself. In fact, I know of only one person who has this perfect love.
There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
Once Jesus enters the chambers of our lives, He fills every corner and crevice. Only His love diffuses the darkness with His light. Only His love clears away our edginess and pain. He doesn’t dangle His love out of sight or reach. Taking a deep breath and swallowing any unpalatable pride, we can pray to the One who always hears our cries. He calms us. He helps us remain very, very still.
Then He abolishes cowering fear from every corner and wields His weapons of truth against the lies fear whispers. We ought to have a holy reverence for Him. But, we don’t have to be afraid of Him.
We need have no fear of someone who loves us perfectly; his perfect love for us eliminates all dread of what he might do to us. If we are afraid, it is for fear of what he might do to us and shows that we are not fully convinced that he really loves us.
Although we are to strive to love everyone unconditionally, we cannot do that unless we first believe in the perfect love of Jesus.
I see no choice. I am flipping on the Light.
Only then can some things be simply understood.
The fear I am describing in this blog post comes from turning on one another rather than turning to Jesus and withholding the agape love from one another that Jesus doesn’t withhold from us. If you are in an abusive relationship—be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual—seek wise counseling even as you seek the Savior’s solace.