1 John 4:18 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.
Have you ever received a love note from a child written specifically to you? Doesn’t it just melt your heart? Every misspelled word, crooked letter and run on sentence is absolutely the most precious piece of literature you have ever seen. Why does a note from a child have this effect on us? I believe it is because a child’s words flow from a heart that is not afraid to love. There isn’t any second guessing about what is appropriate or cool or acceptable to say.
I felt a lot of emotions when I saw the picture of Shelby’s note on Facebook. The simplicity of the message convicted my heart. I imagined myself writing a note to my husband using her exact words.
Dear Kevin, I love you for ever and ever and I will love you all the time.
I haven’t written a note like that to my husband in a very, very long time. So yesterday when my husband and I were going round and round on a subject, I decided to end the discussion by expressing my love to him. I grabbed his hands and looked him in the eyes and repeated Shelby’s words, “Kevin, I love you for ever and ever and I will love you all the time.” I started to cry. Then we hugged. It was amazing!
Perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment.
Have you ever tried to love someone from a place of fear?
- Fear of being vulnerable
- Fear of being rejected
- Fear of being betrayed
- Fear of being misunderstood
- Fear of being abandoned
When we love with fear, we pull back and protect ourselves as soon as we feel hurt or misunderstood or unappreciated. Any unloving response we receive from the one we are trying to love feels more like punishment. We think, “This doesn’t feel like love, so I will not love you back.”
Penalty, sentence, reprimand and criticism are all synonyms of the word punishment.
Love mixed with fear feels like a prison sentence. But fear breeds fear. If you don’t push through your fear, you will begin to treat the people you long to love with distrust, criticism or apathy.
Fear breeds fear whereas fearless love breeds fearless love.
How do you break the prison bars of fear? How can you go back and love purely like a child? I know for myself that embracing the love God has for me softens the blows of rejection from others.
First I must believe God speaks these words to me all the time.
Dear Diane, I love you for ever and ever and I will love you all the time.
Second, I realize that the stronger and deeper my relationship with God is the more I am able to love without fear. When I’m seeking the glory of God over my glory, when I’m humble before God, when I’m paying attention to Jesus and thanking God for the gift of his son, when I’m striving to do God’s will over mine, then I’ve got the motivation to love without fear. I cannot love without fear on my own. I need the spirit of God fanned into flame in my heart in order to love selflessly, without shame or fear.
Thank you God for the Bible, the greatest love letter I have ever received. I can be rejected, misunderstood and abandoned, and still stand fearless because I have your love. I stand in awe of your son Jesus who was willing to be hated and rejected by men and nailed to a cross and yet say, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Jesus knew who he was, where he came from and where he was going, so he could love fearlessly.
- Psalm 56:11 in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?
- 1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.
Let’s examine our hearts for fear when we reach out to others in love. Let’s remember Shelby’s words to her mother:
“I love you for ever and ever.”
And I imagine her hand holding tight to the pen with a determined expression on her face and deciding just in case her mom didn’t get the full impact of her first statement, she wrote a few more words:
“and I will love you all the time.”