Love and Fear
How are you? This week, we are still pondering verses having to do with love. There are many verses about love and many kinds of love mentioned in the Bible. Yet, today may not be a kind of love, but more of a clarification of love.
I have to say, that when I looked at 1 John 4:18 as a possibility for today’s blog topic, I saw it out of context. My first thought was different than the context in which it was written. Just to be clear, I am not advocating for people to twist the truth for their own use or to study God's Word out of context. My first thoughts were out of context, but as you can see I say the correct context.
Can 1 John 4:18 and the Concept of Love Help Battered Women?:
In the past, I have worked with battered women. So, when I read 1 John 4:18 out of context and saw, “There is no fear in love”, I thought about the fear battered women have of their boyfriends or husbands. I thought about how battered women often feel that they deserve the battering and that their boyfriends and husbands love them despite the violence they show.
I wondered, “Can 1 John 4:18 be used to help battered women?” I thought about how batterers often use fear to control their victims all the while they are telling their victims that they love them. I wonder. In reading 1 John 4:18, it doesn’t look to me that fear and love can go hand in hand. It seems like there is only one or the other.
So, can 1 John 4:18 be used to help battered women? There is no mention of battered women or men, in the context of 1 John 4:18. I don’t know if I would advocate for trying to use a verse out of context, unless specifically called to do so by God. However, there may be useful lessons in a verse that can be used in similar or related circumstances. After reading this post, I will let you decide for yourself if 1 John 4:18 can be used to help battered women.
Love and Fear:
When I think about love and fear, I think about how a parent may comfort a child who is afraid. A parent’s love can often wash a way the fears of a child. A hug and gentle, reassuring words often helps when a child is afraid. Coming from a loving parent, these things are often all that is needed for a child to feel safe again. It is like the child can’t feel the fear and the love at the same time.
I think the opposite as well. I think no matter how much a couple thinks they are in love; if there is violence or fear between them it is difficult (if possible at all) to feel the love and fear at the same time. The more the fear is used as a tool by the batterer to control the battered, the more difficult it will be to feel the love.
Often the battered struggles to keep the love and the relationship together. She (or he) wants the relationship, tries to say the abuse was her fault, that she deserves it. But, is it really possible? Is it possible to feel the love and the fear at the same time? Can the violence of the batterer, push the love away? Is the violence of a battered relationship love? Is there any love in the relationship? The batterer and the battered may claim there is love. They may want it. However, is that real love? Or, is that just wishful and misled thinking?
Now, let’s look at 1 John 4:18 in context. If we read 1 John 4, we can see that John is giving the early Christians a pep talk. In earlier verses John talks about how there will be false prophets (1 John 4:1) and the spirit of the antichrist (1 John 4:3) in the world. These things will cause fear, disconnect, and division.
John is reminding the early Christians as God reminds us, that no matter how bad things get, move closer to God. Keep God close and keep your focus on His infinite love. One can’t feel nor be disturbed by the fear and violence of the world, if one is close to God and feels God’s loving presence.
Nothing else matters when we are close to God, not even the most fearful and shocking thing the world can do to us. Yes. That is easier said than lived. God didn’t say it would be easy. Yet, it as 1 John 4:18 (KJV) says, “…perfect love casteth out fear”. God’s perfect love can get rid of the fear we feel.
Thank you for your infinite love. You know that there is violence and things that scare us in this world. Even some of the things you call us to do outside of our comfort zone seem frightful at times. Help us to draw close to you in difficult times instead of dwelling on the fear. Help us to come to you and to feel your love. Help us to understand that your perfect love and fear cannot occupy the same space. Help us to realize that your love is infinite and powerful. Help us to know your faithfulness. Help us to be close to you and focus on you always. I ask you this through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to read these similar posts:
*How Do You Show Jesus You Love Him?
*Do You Reflect the Love of God?
*Do You Practice Pure Religion?
*Why are We Called to Love Our Enemies?
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