Perfect Love Casts Out Fear Part 8

9 Oct

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.

1 John 4:18

The other day we were talking about how fear and punishment, or the possibility of punishment, are related.

  • Sometimes our fears are kind of vague and unspecified.  In that case, we may not be able to make the connection between our fears and punishment.
  • Sometimes we torment ourselves because of something in the past that haunts us.  Maybe we feel guilty about it and feel that we deserve punishment.  Maybe this thing in our past causes us not to trust God and we fear punishment because of our lack of trust.
  • Sometimes we torment ourselves because something in the present upsets us.  We wonder if it is a punishment for something…and torment ourselves.  “Why me?” we ask, “What have I done?”
  • Sometimes we torment ourselves because something in the future threatens us.  Loneliness.  Being unloved.  Health issues.  Marriage issues.  Children issues.  Real issues.  Imaginary issues.
  • Sometimes we are tormented by our insecurity.  “How can God really love me—I’m such a mess!”  Or we wonder if our husbands and children and parents and other family members and even our friends will continue to love us when they see us in all of our human weaknesses.  When I go ballistic, when I get sarcastic, when I do just general crummy wife stuff, I really wonder how Mike can love me knowing what a jerk I am.

Another word for punishment is judgment.  We fear judgment by others.  And when we are judged—whether rightly or wrongly—this judgment is often followed by fear.  Which is your bugaboo?

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