1 John 4:18 Good News Translation (GNT)
18 There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. So then, love has not been made perfect in anyone who is afraid, because fear has to do with punishment.
Human Love is imperfect.
I remember about twenty years ago when I got infatuated with this certain girl and experienced all these butterflies in my stomach. I was fearful. I feared her rejection. I feared how she would judge me. I feared, most of all, that I would be made a fool of, and laughed at by all my friends.
When we examine the fear a little closer, we realize that it is inward-looking. It is always about “me”. What will others think of me? I will be so hurt if she doesn’t accept me!
It is as if our happiness, our self-worth and self-esteem, are dependent on that special someone loving us back. How silly it is to leave our own happiness in someone else’s hands!
Yet, in our imperfect human love, we sometimes manipulate, coerce or even threaten others into loving us, be it between couples, parents & children or among friends. Our innermost desire is shouting out “Love me!” with the unspoken phrase following that as “or else!”
But Jesus loves unconditionally. Often, His love may not be “returned”.
In His perfect love, there is no fear. For Jesus draws His Love from our Father, and it’s always overflowing, never ending.
Jesus’s love and happiness are not dependent on us returning His love. He looks upon our God and our Lord for fulfillment. His love is outward-looking. His love is about self-sacrifice, never self-seeking.
And I wonder how can I even start to practice that on earth.
All thanks be given to God. He actually gives me a chance! I now know that when God called us to love unconditionally, He will gives us tests to do so. It is easy to love someone who loves you back. It is easy to love someone or something pleasing to the eyes. It is easy to love when that doesn’t require much effort.
But God says love your enemies. Love those who hate you. Love those who irritate you. Love those whom you think you are too prideful to love, or that a lowly human can be loved by someone else, but just not me. Love, even when it is not returned. Love, even when it takes every ounce of your effort to do so.
And God says when we love as He has commanded, there will be no fear.
I can speak my mind, as long as I know that my intention is that I speak out of love, and not criticism. I do not need to be afraid of being judged. I obviously do not need to worry how others will look at, or laugh at me. There is no fear. No need for fear. For I am not doing it for myself, but for His Glory.
However, it is never easy. But not impossible. There will be of course days that I will doubt myself, and find myself lacking in faith. Which is why I need to remind myself of this scripture verse.
That I need not fear to love. I can love fearlessly. Amen!
And oh yes! The girl rejected me still, though we spent 10 days travelling in New York. And I thank her for giving me the motivation to stay in New York, for it was one of my best experiences ever. And 3 months later, the twin towers became history.