"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. We though, are going to love and be loved. First we were
loved, now we love. He loved us first." (1 John 4:18-19, MSG)
Or in other words: "There is no fear in love but perfect love drivers out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loves us." (1 John 4:18-19, NIV)
Do we fear death? Do we also fear other things, such as being alone? Making mistakes? Surgery . . .?
If this is the case, is it possible we have not yet fully experienced our Heavenly Father? After all, who is the One who offers genuine forgiveness, no matter how big the mess we have created? He loves us deeply, even those who reject His existence.
Once we are touched by His genuine love, we can't help but love like He does. Nonetheless, there are some who claim to be believers, but have no knowledge of our Father at all. Killing in the name of the Most High, for example, is a mockery to our Father's name.
In fact, if someone had to die for all of our secret dark mistakes, it would be Jesus, God's most precious son who willingly died on a lonely cross, so that we could be forgiven as well, no matter how vile we have been. That's love, real love, a love that drives away any fear, as He is the only one who can guarantee our future.
It would have been quite easy for God to destroy all of us who were rebellious and restart with a civilization that was more eager to follow His example, but He didn't do that. We are way more important to Him than we may think. His goal is to bring His love and forgiveness to us with a glorious future in mind. He is the One who "wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of truth" (1 Tim 2:4, NIV)
This is why Jesus showed up in our neighborhood. Not to condemn us as the religious do, but to broadcast that our Father loves us way more deeply than what we may think. "God didn't go to ask the trouble of sending His son merely to point an acussing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again." (John 3:17, MSG)
His love is invigorating and motivating. While on earth Jesus touched so many people, healing them, delivering them from their burdens, sharing the message that God loves them. Jesus showed His veracity when He willingly died at Golgotha. Would any of us be willing to die for an ungrateful, hard-headed, obstinate know-it-all? He sure did!
This is why "Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, o death is your victory? Where, o death, is your sting? But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through out Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor 15:54b, 55, 57, NIV) We, as followers of our Father, stand with the apostle Paul when he said; "We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord." (2 Cir 5:8, NIV)
Fear has truly been swallowed by genuine, divine love. The religious cannot fathom this kind of love, for they are too busy criticizing one another.
We may ponder how deep is this love to those who experience our Father first hand. Let me illustrate with what happened during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Over 800,000 Tutsis were massacred by the Hutus within 100 days. These 3 months had been a dark reminder of how we humans can act cruelly.
During a concert in Rochester, Rebecca St James shared with her audience how Immaculee Llibagiza, a Catholic Tutsi, survived this massacre, thanks to a pastor who hid her and 7 other women in a bathroom in his home. For 91 days she hid there.
During these 91 days she first realized that her faith was being tested to the limit. At first she was angry with the Hutus, and she wanted vengeance. How dare they kill so many innocent people! Then, with a rosary from her father, she started to pray and pray. The Lord's prayer had a big impact on her, especially these words: "Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
At first she didn't like these words, and she skipped them every time she prayed. After all, how can anyone forgive someone who had killed his mom and dad? It's then that she realized Jesus offered forgiveness for those who were crucifying Him.
These very words that she disliked became important to her. She began to pray for the Hutus, and she forgave them. It's during this time that God became dear to her. His love invaded her, and she couldn't help but love her enemy as well.
When the massacre was over, she discovered that many of het family members had been killed. When hatred started to sprout in her heart, she quickly started to pray for the forgiveness of the killers.
She then went a step further. She went to a prison to visit the Hutu who had killed her mom and one of her brothers. With tears, she told him that she forgave him. Now she spreads the word that forgiveness is way better than hatred. All her fears have evaporated in the presence of Her Heavenly Father.
We truly have nothing to fear with a Father who is nuts about us!
The Illustrator: This daily newsletter is dedicated to encouraging everyone to look towards Jesus as the source of all the solutions to our problems. It contains a daily inspirational story, a Bible verse and encouraging messages. HTML and plain text versions available.
The Nugget: Published three times a week, this newsletter features inspirational devotionals and mini-sermons dedicated to drawing mankind closer to each other and to Christ.