Fear Drives, Love Leads.

I was wandering this morning, before the sun even peeked pink above the horizon. It’s been a long week with very early mornings and late nights sandwiching busy days. It’s not my normal rhythm so I’m out of sync. My mind wandered as neither dogs nor wife were awake. The soft glow of my tablet illuminated the room.

Flipping through social media posts, one caught my eye. “Fear is the leadership tactic of weak minds” it read. I disagreed. Then I agreed. Then I disagreed. My mind rapidly flipping and flopping then indexing horrors of the past and events of the present. The more I thought the more I disagreed, but I also saw the point of why it was posted. It’s important to grasp the absolute power of fear, because it can change your life. When we understand what fear is and what it can do, it can become powerless, defeated, deflated.

When we understand what fear is and what it can do, it can become powerless, defeated, deflated.

Fear toppled humanity with the simple question, “Did God really say…?” and continues to be utilized to control and dominate others to this very day. We have to realize that all of us, to some extent, live in fear. I see it in myself at times and it’s frightening. Not the fear of heights and spiders, but a deeper, darker more nefarious fear. The fear to love.

A tarantula or cacata, in the Dominican Republic. I had to overcome the a mild of spiders pretty quickly if I was going to use the outhouse during my 10-day mission trip in Dajabon, DR. The fear that we see in society is much more nefarious than my aversion to the hairy, crawly spider!

Fear has driven people to wage war and tear down peace. Fear drives people to verbal combat and physical division. Fear drives people to think the worst of others while overlooking our own depravity. Fear has exterminated millions in the name of purity. Fear has ostracized billions because of subtle differences like a lisp. Some of the most malevolent, cunning, villainous minds used fear to accomplish bloodcurdling atrocities because they knew just how powerful a force fear is. Yet fear is subtle. It masquerades as an angel of light offering false hope void of any substance. It’s used daily in bedrooms, classroom and boardrooms. It’s used by the small as well as the great. It’s readily available to everyone because it comes from within.

Love doesn’t demand, but beckons to a thirsty soul to journey to a place that is deeper and richer than where they came from.

As with all things powerful, it does have a weakness. It lies in the fact that fear has nothing to do with love and love is the progenitor of all that is good, holy and pure. Fear is, indeed, the tactic of the uncreative, unimaginative and unloving. In this sense I agree with the writer. It drives agendas, holds creation in bondage, decays, destroys, devours. If this is what “weak minded” denotes, then I agree. Fear is born out of an emptiness and lacking. It is the antagonist of love.

Love doesn’t demand, but beckons to a thirsty soul to journey to a place that is deeper and richer than where they came from. Unlike fear, love doesn’t drive like a task master, it leads as a shepherd. It motivates people to lift others up. Fear drives people apart.

John writes in his first letter in the Bible,

“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.” 1 John 4:18

He goes on to say,

“We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 4:18-21

Fear and love have nothing in common. They repulse each other. In our imperfect humanness, we all have both - often in vacillating degrees. But, it is impossible to live in love and embrace fear at the same time. To do so essentially means that love is absent.  Show me a person who promotes fear and I will show you a person who does not love.

So when we look at the landscape of our society, what do we see? Listen carefully to those who speak in authority. Don’t let cunning, smooth words and a smile fool you into a complacency that allows fear to reside. And do not be satisfied with the lesser of two evils! Take neither! Fear is perfectly accepting to reside in a small corner in your house, at first. But it will expand, bit by bit taking over the entire home, and you won’t even know it.

Fear is amazingly potent, but it can be overcome and cast out by perfect love. We can be made perfect in love, but we have to acknowledge the fear that we do have. God demonstrated his love for us by this, he gave his only son, Jesus, as a remedy to our fear. Because of this we have the potential to truly love others even while being in disagreement. We have the potential to be set free from fear, completely. It won’t happen by chance and you can’t expect others to start. It starts with you, choose to live in love!