A Fear of Love

It seems like our society lives in constant fear. It is a pitiful existence; and the natural inclination is to reach out for some kind of security. Immediately after the twin towers fell, stat compilers tell us that US citizens got all religious and church attendance shot up. It was short lived, of course, but as a side note, it indicated that persecution produces thought (James 1:2-3). Nevertheless, we are a fickle bunch and forget even the recent past in a flash. Further, when trials do come, it is amazing to whom and for what we will reach out.

The children of Israel learned a hard lesson when God called them to repentance and they ignored His pleas. Jeremiah, impervious to ill treatment, spoke boldly and frequently concerning repentance and their need to return to God. The Jews seemed oblivious and when it was forced upon their attention, they rebelled and rejected, sealing their fate.

As Jeremiah stood over the heap that was once the City of David, he lamented, “Still our eyes failed us, watching vainly for our help; In our watching we watched for a nation that could not save us” (Lamentations 4:17). They had foolishly looked around, beyond, and over God for solutions; and not only were none forth coming, the alternatives to God’s solutions were lethal. Scattered to the four winds in the bondage of harsh taskmasters, their failures came home to roost.

Faithful preachers today stand in pulpits across America warning of the moral decadence and godless direction we have chosen. Its end is destruction and its consequent carnage will be a testimony against us. Yet, such men are styled as radicals, alarmists, and exaggerators. Surely it is not as bad as it is being portrayed, they say, and with great pride we lift ourselves up as invincible. From Babel to Obama, the maxim still holds: “Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

The answers to our predicament will not be found in current cultural wisdom. Too many are “lookin’ for love in all the wrong places”, as the old country singer crooned. God is love and until we embrace the love of God, there will be only a downward spiral from hopelessness to destruction. From the individual level to the national level, God’s definition of love, its application, and its consequence will only and forever contain the answer to the fears we harbor. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:17-18).

Our culture is like it is and headed in the direction it is because it has abandoned God. That may not be a popular message and may even subject a preacher to ridicule and denigration for suggesting such “negativity.” However, it is the truth. We can loose our fear in God’s love; then we will “fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). This will happen if we lose our fear of love.

Jeff Sweeten