Scripture: 1 John 4:18 (The Message)
"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."
The author of 1 John is talking about the importance of accepting the incarnation, and describing what a life lived within the love of God really looks like.
We hear it all the time..."unconditional love." I speak about it at every wedding ceremony in which I am the officiant. I will tell the bride and groom about the way love is described in the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, then go on to talk about the importance of loving unconditionally.
But there's a problem. I have realized that unconditional love is tough, nay almost impossible, from human to human. Maybe a better, more realistic expectation, is to just say that we can love truly, madly, and deeply like Savage Garden sang about in the '90's.
I feel like I can do that...but is that really love? If the writer of 1 John is correct, love can only be real when it removes from the relationship all that can cause fear. If that's the case, then those whom I claim to love, or who claim to love me should know me, and I them, well enough to know what they are afraid of. That requires intimacy...trust...and time.
This is true in our relationships with each other, and in our relationship with the God who created us. Only when we truly get to know the other...their fears, their hopes, their dreams, their failures, their strengths, and their weaknesses...can we even begin to love them. Only when we allow the other to know our fears, hopes, dreams, failures, strengths, and weaknesses can we truly be loved.
O God of heart and soul, love us through our fears, and show us how to do the same for those around us. Amen.