“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.” (4:18-19)
What is Love? Baby, don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more.
This non-linear twirling of thoughts and ideas about love leaves my head spinning. Sometimes the verses about everything boiling down to love for God and people get lost on me. What does that look like? How can I know when I’m loving correctly? What is Love?!
I’ve got John telling me God’s perfect love drives out fear, and also culture and experience telling me love is pain. This brings me back to 3:1.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.”
The world isn’t going to have insight when it comes to this. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. There is no rest for the man who must earn his own keep and watches his own back. He has the mindset of an orphan. Indeed, many times in my own walk, I can trace fear and impulsive sins back to an independent or orphan mentality. This is my best way of understanding:
“No one who abides in Him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen Him or known Him.” (3:6)
To know Him is to abandon our motivation to sin. To understand His love is to be unbound by fear.
There’s a lot to mediate on in theses chapters. I’m inclined to overthink it, but for now my prayer is for God to speak to our hearts about this truth. It’s a knowing, an experiencing, not a theological arrival point.
Father, help this sink in to our souls. Teach us how to love, sacrifically, knowing You have given us all we need.