April 18, 2018
How does the Christian deal with their fears?
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – I John 4:16b-18
Perfect Love casts out fear from the person but also from the interaction of fearful people. And so much of our human behavior and even our attitudes are creations of the anxious emotion we know as fear.
Yet … so many expressions of the Christian faith have used and are using fear as a motivating force. We see it in the early development of the Hebrew faith … but as the centuries rolled on, the anxious fear of God turned more and more into the reverential awe of God. And if one listens carefully to the words of Christ … He counters the fear-provoking ways of the Pharisees with cautionary fear, but those living in fear, He uses the courage of Love, a More Perfect Love than the love they thought they knew.
Fear is a primal instinct … a survival tool in a savage world. But as the human creature and the human experience became more complicated and controlled, the fear-response became more and more a vague, free-floating anxiety. We began to fear, not the threat but the possibility of threat.
As a father, I often served as a comforter. My wife was a comforter of a more capable kind. The boys would have nightmare or later be forced to face a bully … and it was the application of the Love that the Lord had given my wife and me … that would overwhelm the fears and replace them with the experience of being deeply and intimately loved.
The More Perfect Love may not do away with threat, but the More Perfect Love drives out the fear within.
Always in His Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz