Fear and Love
“There is no fear where love exists. Rather, perfect love banishes fear, for fear involves punishment, and the person who lives in fear has not been perfected in love.”
1 John 4:18-ISV
Let me preach for y’all real quick. Because Valentine’s day is coming up, and I know people are just wading knee-deep in their feelings. We talk about safe sex (barely), but we don’t always discuss the merits of safe love. This morning I went to church for the first time since Christmas. The pastor referenced the passage above. In the biblical sense, we are talking about the love of God, but I instantly thought of the interpersonal relationship we, as young, dumb adults grapple with on the daily. This verse has three main parts:
1. There is no fear where love exists: there should be no fear in a relationship built on love. The coexistence of fear and love would indicate that an individual possesses qualities that both draw you to them and repel you from them. Fear is a pre-cursor to flight while love is a path leading to intimacy. Fear is a carnal reaction to a feeling of danger. If you smell fear, trust your gut instinct and choose flight.
2. Perfect love banishes fear, for fear involves punishment: For many, what this punishment is, is losing the one you think you love. If being a self-sufficient, self-contained entity without a significant other is what inspires fear in your relationship, then you must first build love and trust with yourself. You came into this world alone, and you will leave the same way. Learning to love yourself in between is a pre-cursor to finding someone to spend the rest of your natural life with.
3. The person who lives in fear has not been perfected in love: In this case, we are speaking again to self-love, refining the common stereotype that love or being in love completes you. As mentioned under part 2 you can only love once you are complete in and of yourself. Once you reach that point, achieving that love first in yourself and then in someone else, you ought to have two individuals who regard you as perfect. You are perfect in their eyes and in yours not because you are actually perfect, but because you are flawed, and weird, and your esoteric interests complement theirs.
As this artificial, commercialized holiday approaches, detect what is equally artificial in your own life. Are you holding on to something you need to let go? Are you reaching for something you know you shouldn’t have? Are you paralyzed by fear? If what you are seeking is genuinely for you, there is no need to be afraid. Put your self-loving self out there. As Valentine’s Day approaches, remember that you should love yourself 365 days a year, regardless of whether you fearlessly share that love with someone special this February 14th.